The Los Angeles Kings apparently don’t respect Taylor Swift’s record for sold-out Staples Center performances and fans think the banner’s existence is hurting the team.
According to Los Angeles Times columnist Arash Markazi, the Kings got feedback from a number of fans who wanted the banner covered up, which the team did at its home opener against the Nashville Predators last week. Markazi called the blue banner an “eyesore” in a story that was published Saturday and detailed where the banner came from and why some fans want it gone. Apparently it’s for superstitious reasons.
Staples Center president Lee Zeidman said there are no plans to remove the banner and the decision to cover it during Kings games was made solely by the team.
The banner, which was raised Aug. 21, 2015, after her record 16th sold-out concert at Staples Center, has been an eyesore for many Kings fans. They don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Kings have failed to win a playoff series since the banner went up. The Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014 as well as advanced to the conference finals in 2013. They finished with the worst record in the Western Conference and second worst in the league last season.
Staples Center is, of course, the home court for both the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers along with the NHL’s Kings. That means it’s one of the busiest venues in America, and the changeover for different home games also means a lot of action in the venue’s rafters. The Lakers have a lot of championship banners and retired numbers, for example, and the Clippers cover those and banners for the WNBA’s Sparks with pictures of Clippers stars during home games. But lately they’ve also covered the banner the organization gave to Taylor Swift as well.
The Lakers, meanwhile, do not cover the Swift banner during home games. In fact, Swift was surprised by the banner at the final show of her 1989 tour in 2015 by Kobe Bryant himself.
The whole thing is extremely silly, especially if the real reason is because the Kings are getting superstitious about some recent postseason failures. There are all kinds of strange banners in the rafters of venues across America. Some are for corporate partnerships and others are, like Swifts, to celebrate concert performances. No one is demanding Billy Joel’s banners at MSG get torn down because the Knicks are struggling, but Swift is an easy target for things like this. And the Kings apparently felt it wasn’t an unreasonable request.
“The connection to our fans is our highest priority and through our engagement they have made it clear that the banner shouldn’t be part of their Kings game experience,” said Michael Altieri, senior vice president of marketing, communications and content for the Kings and AEG Sports. “We didn’t see an issue in covering it for our games and in fact see it as an opportunity to show our fans that we hear them.”
As Markazi points out, the Lakers haven’t made the postseason in seven seasons now and that has little to do with the presence of a Taylor Swift banner in the rafters at Staples Center. And the banner itself is unlikely to come down, which means this just adds more work for people in the rafters of Staples Center before various events in the building. Perhaps the hockey play in LA this year will be worth focusing on now that the banner can’t distract Kings fans from Jonathan Quick’s .888 save percentage last season.