Kings players to make appearances at Sacramento International Airport in new partnership deal

Appearances by Sacramento Kings players at Sacramento International will be part of a new partnership between the airport and the NBA team.

In addition to opportunities to meet Kings players at the airport, there will be chances to win Kings prizes and view team memorabilia, a team spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The partnership will come at a cost to Sacramento International Airport.

The airport will pay the Kings $315,000 during the life of the agreement which starts this season and lasts for three years, Sacramento International spokesman Scott Johnston said.

Officials see the agreement as a way to grow awareness of Sacramento International Airport and its air service to various destinations, he said.

A Sacramento International Airport report shows the airport suffers from travelers avoiding Sacramento to take advantage of the higher number of non-stop flights to desirable destinations and lower prices that are offered at Bay Area airports.

Airport officials plan to use the Kings to counter that.

Johnston said the agreement will include airport social media posts showing various cities the Kings fly to from Sacramento International.

When the Kings fly from Sacramento International Airport to play NBA games in other cities, the airport will promote those nonstop routes, he said.

While the Kings fly on a charter plane, Johnston said those cities they visit can be visited on commercial flights from Sacramento International.

Johnston said how many appearances the Kings will make at the airport has yet to be determined.

John Rinehart, Sacramento Kings president of business operations, touted the agreement in a statement.

“Through unique co-branded experiences, we will magnify what it means to be Sacramento proud while creating impactful movements for all who travel to and from the airport,” he said.

Sacramento County Department of Airports Director Cindy Nichol said in the same statement that the airport has been the departure point for Kings away games for years.

“This collaboration provides us an opportunity to work with one of the most creative marketing teams in the NBA,” she said.

The first Kings events at the airport have yet to be announced. Partnerships between sports teams and airports are rare, though some airports have branded team sports bars or restaurants.

Another NBA team with an airport partnership is the Dallas Mavericks.

They have an agreement with Love Field in Dallas, which includes displays of memorable moments in the team’s history.

Airline blogger Joe Brancatelli, who was executive editor of Frequent Flyer Magazine and has written for more than 100 publications, said perhaps marketers know something he doesn’t, but he fails to understand how Sacramento International will benefit from the arrangement with the Kings.

He said travelers pick airports based on convenience to their destination or price of flights, not whether they are affiliated with a particular sports team.

“I don’t understand the logic of the deal,” he said.