U.S.-based professional basketball team, The Sacramento Kings, led the way for professional sports with its adoption of new technologies, including cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
In a Front Office Sports report today, the NBA team made some interesting revelations about their journey so far into the crypto space.
Even though major global sports teams have started showing interest in the tech and gradually forming an alliance with crypto-related startups, the Kings stand out in that regard, as they have tried to make fans’ experience seamless by rolling out a variety of crypto-related services for their fans in 2014.
The King is considered the first professional sports team to add Bitcoin (BTC) payment option for a variety of their merchandise, such as buying Kings jerseys, tickets, different Kings gear, and putting a Bitcoin ATM at its arena.
Ryan Montoya, the NBA team’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), stated that at the time of launching the BTC payment option, the popular cryptocurrency was trading at $800. But patronage for the service started to decline when the price increased to $1,200.
However, Montoya stated that “season ticket holders” continue to pay in Bitcoin to date.
Montoya added the decrease in the use of Bitcoin to purchase the team’s merchandise would not deter them from leading the way in implementing the blockchain technology in the sports ecosystem. He said in the report:
We have a very tech-savvy ownership group, and innovation is a given; it is part of our DNA. […] We’re going to continue to deploy and do interesting things.
Alongside its BTC payment option, the team also has a Bitcoin mining center. Although, Montoya stated that the mining center was only established for educational purposes.
“Students of Sacramento should not be exposed to it [cryptocurrencies] 10 years from now, they should understand now that it’s a cool piece of technology and powering these things in the arena,” Montoya said.
The initiative has gotten recognition, which had led to the team’s partnership with Blockparty, a blockchain-based rewards firm, to help fans earn blockchain tokens that are only redeemable via the purchase of the team’s products and services.
As part of the report, the team also partnered with CryptoKaiju, to venture into crypto-collectibles and running interactive scavenger hunts throughout the season for fans to win 100 limited-edition Kaiju collectibles.