NBA Team Hosts Tech-Themed Game

Sara Peters, Editor in Chief | 4/3/2014 | 13 comments

Sara Peters
As entertainment technology continues to make the game-time experience for couch-riding sports fans better and better, all sports teams are looking for new ways to encourage fans to buy tickets to see games in person. The Sacramento Kings -- the NBA team closest to Silicon Valley -- is having some of the greatest success in this endeavor by introducing new technology in the arena.

The Kings have had an ambitious technology agenda ever since Vivek Ranadive -- founder and CEO of TIBCO Software -- took ownership of the franchise. The team declared this Sunday's home game against the Dallas Mavericks "Selfie Sunday," which will allow some fans to be in a photo taken by a drone flying in the stadium and award autographed prize packs to the two fans who display the most team spirit in photos they take during the game and tag #KingsSelfie. Also part of the tech-themed game:

  • Peja Stojakovic -- a retired NBA All-Star who spent eight years on the Kings -- will serve as "'tech ambassador,' don Google Glass, and take over Kings social media channels."
  • A Google+ Hangout with fans and former players will be broadcast live on the arena jumbotron.
  • Fans will be able to buy cases for their phones and tablets sporting the Kings logo, and buy jerseys personalized with their favorite social media handles.
  • The Kings new mobile app will provide proximity- and context-aware info via the Gimbel platform.

This is just the latest in a series of tech advancements the team has made this year.

This season the Kings became the first team to accept Bitcoins as payment. They have a very active Instagram page and social media presence in general. This season they also became the first team to outfit players, dancers, and broadcasters with Google Glasses and show clips of their views live on the arena jumbotron during home games. The footage was actually pretty cool:

Is all this technology driving up ticket sales? Well, last season, only 79.4% of the seats in the arena were filled on average, per home game -- that's an attendance rating that ranked 28th out of 30 NBA teams. This season the home game attendance rate is way up to 93.6% -- 16th in the league.

It's hard to quantify how much credit the in-stadium tech is to thank for the boost. No doubt some credit must go to the fact that the Kings decreased the average ticket price by about 10%. You certainly cannot credit the team's performance; although the Kings are having a slightly better season this year than last, they're still one of the worst teams in the West. Regardless of how it happened, average ticket revenue per game is up by 5%.

What do you think? Would you be more likely to attend a game if your team's stadium embraced technology in this way? Do you think these efforts would be as successful in a region further from Silicon Valley? Let us know in the comments below.

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freespiritny25   NBA Team Hosts Tech-Themed Game   4/26/2014 5:08:33 PM
Re: NBA Team Hosts Tech
Only in Silicon Valley would drones be flying around for fan selfies at a NBA game- love it!
MDMConsult   NBA Team Hosts Tech-Themed Game   4/23/2014 4:49:28 AM
Re: wow factor
Mobile, gaming and digital video are paving the way for the sports industry. The mobile devices allow users to follow games on devices, integrate a variety of apps, track scores on smartphones or tablets and more. According to PWC, the global sports market in 2015 Global revenues are set to rise to $145bn. Global sports revenues will grow to US$145.3 billion over the period 2010 - 2015, at an annual compound growth rate of 3.7 percent. 
Technocrat   NBA Team Hosts Tech-Themed Game   4/14/2014 8:14:47 PM
Re: Re : NBA Team Hosts Tech-Themed Game
@stotheco    Let's hope so, because the Kings stink.  : ) 
stotheco   NBA Team Hosts Tech-Themed Game   4/14/2014 6:31:18 AM
Re: Re : NBA Team Hosts Tech-Themed Game
Hmm, you have a point, Technocrat. Perhaps after this, they can focus on using tech to improve player stats and team performance.
stotheco   NBA Team Hosts Tech-Themed Game   4/14/2014 6:30:46 AM
Re: Door prizes tech or not are draws
Good point. The thought of getting freebies just by showing up is, I agree, extremely tempting, especially if you've already planned to go watch the game live anyway. It's like icing on the cake basketball--err, cake!
Technocrat   NBA Team Hosts Tech-Themed Game   4/12/2014 7:02:04 PM
Re: Re : NBA Team Hosts Tech-Themed Game
Funny that all of these technology uses have little to do with improving poor team performance. 

It seems like the worst the team is the more "technological bells and whistles" offered.  It would not make me more likely to attend a game if I were a Kings fan.
Anand   NBA Team Hosts Tech-Themed Game   4/12/2014 11:02:03 AM
Re : NBA Team Hosts Tech-Themed Game
Can I ask that all these technology is based on marketing a home game or to improve comfort? It is a good marketing strategy but don't you think it is expensive? If it will improve the performance of the home team that is well and good but if it cannot, then even in the future the stadium attendance might not change at all.
kstaron   NBA Team Hosts Tech-Themed Game   4/10/2014 2:54:41 PM
Door prizes tech or not are draws
There's nothing like watching a sporting event live. So I must credit at least some of the upswing in ticket sales to the decrease in cost, but the possibility of selfie autographed door prizes might make a few fans think harder about buying tickets. I wouldn't go anymore based on changing tech within the stadium, but I bet I'd be glad for it once I was there.
Anand   NBA Team Hosts Tech-Themed Game   4/9/2014 3:07:09 PM
Re: wow factor
In my opinion, this very same approach would result in bigger upheavals if adopted by other teams that host their games much farther from Silicon Valley. One key factor, in this respect will be the wow factor; the things that will actually amaze the fans. The fans closer to Silicon Valley are simply more used to most of the newest technology (such as Google Glass) and are less impressionable, meaning that they are slightly less likely to be amazed by such things as compared to other fans in distant courts who are less exposed to this kind of technology.
Pedro Gonzales   NBA Team Hosts Tech-Themed Game   4/7/2014 12:30:36 PM
Re: tech themed game: wow factor
That is really cool.  The last time I went to a sports game was in Washington D.C not long ago.  I wish they had something similar to Madison square garden.  After each break there are huge lines to buy food.  Sara, I think you talked about an article similiar to this, but for football games.
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