Crown of Innovation

The Sacramento Kings make geek chic

Back Article Jan 22, 2015 By Kevin McKenna

The technology website GeekWire calls the Sacramento Kings the “NBA’s most geeky franchise.” They mean it as a compliment. Here are some of the ways the Kings are maintaining their edge.

Analytical tools – An alliance with San Francisco-based Zignal Labs, which offers deep analytics using big data and media monitoring, allows the Kings to analyze more than 1 million mentions in mainstream news and social media. “Zignal connects us with the Sacramento community and fans around the world in real time, which enables our communications efforts to be informed by quantitative analysis,” says Laura Braden, the team’s senior director of communications.

Arena technology – Ryan Montoya, senior vice president of strategy, innovation and technology for the Kings, says the team’s new arena will be the first sports venue to “listen, speak and interact” with fans in their seats, using apps that take advantage of the venue’s connectivity and bandwidth.

Bitcoin – In January 2014, the Kings became the first professional sports team to accept the digital currency Bitcoin for purchases of tickets and merchandise. In an interview with ESPN.com, Kings’ majority owner Vivek Ranadivé said the move was part of his strategy of “using the sports franchise as a social network to push the technology envelope.”

Google Glass – Teaming up with Silicon Valley software company CrowdOptic, the Kings became the first professional sports team to broadcast Google Glass views live in their arena.

Uber – In September, the team became the first professional sports franchise to integrate the ride-sharing service Uber into its mobile app. In a news release, Kings President Chris Granger said the team was “utilizing technology to provide an enhanced and more frictionless experience.”

Virtual reality – Last June, software from Arch Technology allowed the Kings to begin offering virtual tours of the yet-to-be-constructed Entertainment and Sports Center using the virtual reality headset from Oculus Rift.


Want to know more about Ryan Montoya and the Kings’ tech strategy? Check back next week for Kevin McKenna’s January feature, “Create the Future Now.” Sign up for our newsletter, and we’ll email you when it’s online!

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