If Taylor Swift would have heard the fuss that Los Angeles Kings fans have been making about a banner bearing her name in the Staples Center, she likely would have told them “You Need To Calm Down.”
Ahead of the Kings home opener against the Nashville Predators on Saturday, the singer-songwriter’s “most sold out performances” banner was covered by the team.
According to Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times, Staples Center president Lee Zeidman said that the pennant will not be removed and the choice to conceal it was made solely by the Kings.
In fairness, its creation was well deserved as it commemorates Swift’s record-setting 16th sold-out concert at the venue. While it has been called an eyesore by hockey fans, the bigger issue seems to stem from the performance of their team since the banner went up to the rafters on Aug. 21, 2015.
Following Stanley Cup championships in 2012 and 2014, the relationship between the Kings and success has been anything but a Love Story. While Swift’s banner has dangled above them during home games, the team has been knocked out of the first round of the playoffs twice and missed the postseason altogether on two occasions.
The Kings’ record of 31-42-9 last season — good for last in the Western Conference and second-last overall — seemed to be the last straw. Instead of tossing all the blame towards the players and team’s front office, the Bad Blood between supporters of the Kings and Swift boiled over.
“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, per Markazi. “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.”
Here’s that statement (very) roughly paraphrased for the sake of a joke: Look What You Made Me Do.
The practice isn’t anything new at the Staple Center, though. The NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers already cover the banner during their home games, as they do with everything Los Angeles Lakers and Sparks-related in the rafters.
And while the Lakers don’t hide the banner during their home games, they should consider it — especially with its alleged associated curse in mind. As Markazi points out, “the Lakers haven’t won a playoff series in seven years and have the worst winning percentage in the league over the past six seasons.”
Does covering the banner take away its power? As of right now, the answer to that question is unknown. However, by doing their best to make its existence a Blank Space, Los Angeles did defeat Nashville 7-4.
It would be foolish to read too much into this, but it appears that when it comes to the Kings, the Staples Center and Swift’s banner, Everything Has Changed.
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