• Loading stock data...
Sunday, April 21, 2024
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -

Sacramento Kings Lead The Way For Sports In Cryptocurrency Solutions

  • Kings were the first NBA team to accept Bitcoin and cryptocurrency as payment.
  • The team has initiated a blockchain-based loyalty program.
Jan 14, 2019; Sacramento, CA, USA; Fans on their phone during the second quarter between the Sacramento Kings and the Portland Trail Blazers at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
This article is part of a new FOS article series sponsored by Bittrex examining new interesting implementations of cryptocurrency in the world of sports.

The Sacramento Kings have been at the forefront of many technology trends in sports, especially when it comes to cryptocurrency and blockchain innovations.

In 2014, the Kings became the first professional sports team to accept bitcoin as a payment option – and remain one of the few as others look toward ways to integrate blockchain technology in a worthwhile way. The team also mines cryptocurrency in its data center and earlier this year announced a new blockchain-powered rewards program with Blockparty.

There’s no reason to believe the team will slow down, either, as the team’s ownership group is full of innovative business executives, including owner Vivek Ranadivé, said Ryan Montoya, the Kings chief technology officer. It’s also largely because they’re not worried about what other teams are doing first.

“We have a very tech-savvy ownership group and innovation is a given; it’s part of our DNA,” Montoya said. “As an organization, any organization, you should always be focused on how to disrupt yourselves before you’re disrupted.”

Montoya said the initial acceptance of bitcoin was a success – at the time bitcoin was valued at $800, far less than $8060 as of November 20. With “amazing adoption,” Montoya said a website with 30 products at different levels from hats to court-side seat experiences, the items were gobbled up.

“People from all over the world were buying Kings jerseys, tickets, different Kings gear,” he said. “They were super excited that this team was accepting Bitcoin; the blockchain community. We even put a bitcoin ATM in the arena.

“Then the bitcoin price went up to $1,200 and they quit spending the bitcoin.”

He said there are still season ticket holders who pay in Bitcoin.

While sales using Bitcoin cooled off significantly, the brief period of success showed one thing to the Kings organization: there will be a digital currency. Montoya said he’s confident the organization will continue to lead the way in implementing blockchain technology in the sports ecosystem.

“We have to be prepared and embrace it,” Montoya said. “We’re going to continue to deploy and do interesting things.”

That belief is key to a major goal of the organization – removing friction from the fan experience.

As part of that strategy, Golden 1 Center opened a checkout-free store in partnership with Zippin.

While Bitcoin’s value can make it a bit prohibitive for purchasing, the blockchain technology can be used to create value for fans. That’s where this year’s Blockparty partnership comes into play. The rewards program is an enhancement on the NBA’s “Call the Shot” predictive gaming app. It essentially serves as a precursor to sports betting which isn’t currently legal in California.

Along with accepting Bitcoin as a payment option and a blockchain-based rewards program, the Kings want to take another step to recognize that the technology is here to stay. Montoya said that means the team is taking a role in educating future generations. Education is the main reason the team started mining cryptocurrency in their data center. The mined currency heads to local workforce development efforts as MiningForGood.

“We utilize that to engage the community and teach the youth about STEM education and the importance of blockchain,” Montoya said. “Students of Sacramento should not be exposed to it 10 years from now, they should understand now that it’s a cool piece of technology and powering these things in the arena.”

The Kings are also bringing the digital world to the real world, as the team partnered with CryptoKaiju, which is traceable vinyl toys powered by vinyl toys. The team is running interactive scavenger hunts throughout the season for 100 limited-edition Kaiju toys connected to exclusive experiences, including 15 rare toys with items like courtside seats and VIP tours.

“Crypto-collectibles is perfect for tech-savvy sports fans and we expect as the popularity in these tokens increases, it will soon be the norm for sports teams to release their collectibles that link physical and digital, so it is a privilege to be at the forefront of this movement,” CryptoKaiju founder Oliver Carding said.

Montoya said the Kings have been mostly successful in the innovations they’ve implemented through the years, whether that has been through gaining insights, making fan experiences better or bringing in revenue. Part of that he credits to the “most tech-savvy ownership group in the NBA,” but also the city’s fans.

“Our fans are very savvy. For example, the soft launch of the checkout-free store. People instantly knew what it was and didn’t take a lot of explaining,” he said. “Fans are pretty smart, they may not use the technology every day, but so long as you make it easy to use, they’ll utilize it.”

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Everything You Need To Know About the Legal Attempts To Kill the ACC

Four lawsuits involving the conference, Clemson, and FSU could determine the future.

A Bare-Knuckle Fighter Won His Pro Debut. The Far Right Scored a Marketing Win

With Proud Boys sponsoring him, experts say extremist groups will use his success to elevate their ideologies and recruit new believers.
Dec 27, 2023; San Diego, CA, USA; USC Trojans wide receiver Kyron Hudson (10) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Louisville Cardinals during the first half at Petco Park.

Hearings Have Concluded in the Pivotal USC Athlete Employment Case. What’s Next?

The potentially landmark labor case could end the NCAA amateurism model.
Alex Rodriguez, Anthony Towns

Timberwolves’ Playoff Start Is Clouded by a Messy Ownership Dispute

No one knows who the Timberwolves’ owner will be in the future.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Why Ian Rapoport Lives for the NFL Draft’s Chaos


Featured Today

Women’s Basketball Finally Has a TV Deal to Match the Excitement. Now What?

A lucrative new media-rights contract could rectify problems of the past, but the future of March Madness media rights is anyone’s guess.
Mar 16, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack forward DJ Burns Jr. (30) cuts the net after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels for the ACC Conference Championship at Capital One Arena.
April 6, 2024

How Two College Seniors Helped DJ Burns Cash In on a Final Four Run

Two college seniors are facilitating deals for NC State’s big man.
Mar 31, 2024; Portland, OR, USA; NCAA officials measure the three point line while coaches from the Texas Longhorns and NC State Wolfpack watch with referees in the finals of the Portland Regional of the NCAA Tournament at the Moda Center center.
April 1, 2024

NCAA Has No One to Blame for Latest Women’s March Madness Transgressions

NCAA is still making avoidable mistakes three years after a complete overhaul.
Nov 16, 2015; Bloomington, IN, USA; General view of the championship banners at Assembly Hall prior to the game between Austin Peay and Indiana.
March 31, 2024

How to Make It in Basketball: Become a Manager at Indiana

Inside the Hoosiers’ unglamorous, profoundly rewarding incubator for basketball’s biggest names.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
The Adidas ball has changed over the years.

The Most Advanced Tech at the Women’s World Cup Might Surprise You

This year’s OCEAUNZ introduces connected ball technology to the women’s game.

Creating Fan-Centric Content With AI

WSC’s highlight automation improved the speed of ESPN’s content creation.

Rewriting the Sports Media Playbook

WSC’s highlight automation improved Clemson’s content strategy and overall growth.

Rapid Returns: How Technology Is Getting You Back to Your Seat

How Oracle’s POS technology is helping fans get back to their seats faster.

Re-Imagining Storytelling With AI

Amy Anderson, Head of Content Strategy at NASCAR Studios, discusses the role of AI technology in developing and growing new content.
Arial view of Audi testing track
December 4, 2022

Audi Gears Up for F1 with Major New Facility

Audi is building a 10,000 square-foot building to support its F1 efforts.
Woman wears Meta Quest headset while working out to have virtual reality exercise session
November 22, 2022

Meta’s Plans for VR Fitness Could Hit Snag

A government agency is looking to block an acquisition by Meta.
Nike phone advertisement
November 15, 2022

Nike Jumps Further into Metaverse With Virtual Sneaker Platform

The world’s largest sportswear company is taking its talents to the metaverse.