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Technology and the future of attending an NBA game

Jan 20, 2012, 12:11 PM EDT

Vivek ranadive 2 Getty Images

NBA teams are struggling to figure out how to fit modern technology into the live NBA experience. How we get information and share our experiences is changing with technology, and teams are trying to figure out how to keep up.

Mark Cuban in Dallas says he wants to eliminate the “look down” moments, so his team is not texting stats and information to season ticket holders during a game, something that has them looking down and playing with their smart phones and not soaking up the live experience.

But other teams may go the other way — and find a way to make it work for their business model.

Enter Vivek Ranadivé. He is the brains behind Tibico, a $4 billion software company that tries to take the mountains of data out there, sort through it for companies and help them get the right information to the right place at the right time. And they’re good at it.

Ranadivé is also a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors. He is profiled in this month’s Esquire Magazine and talks about how the Warriors could blaze the trail for NBA and other sports on how to use the information they gather.

Ranadivé believes the Warriors can be a model of how an organization can revolutionize its operations through the use of real-time data. His vision goes roughly like this:

When a ticket holder arrives at Oracle Arena for a game, he could flash a bar-coded pass to enter the parking garage, sending a signal that he has arrived and allowing him quick and easy entry to the game. The computer system would know that at last week’s game, he bought two youth jerseys. It would also know that there’s a surplus of youth hats at the team store at the moment, so it could send him a text message offering a 20 percent discount on hats. When he’s in his seat, he’d be able to watch instant replays and other exclusive content on his phone. At the end of the third quarter, when the computer system showed that the concession stand near his seats had too many hot dogs, it could send him a buy-one-get-one-free offer — because it also knows that he sometimes buys hot dogs at games.

The right information to the right people at the right time in the right context. (Fans creeped out by this could opt out.)

It’s an interesting vision. One not for everyone (it may play better in San Francisco than Oklahoma city), but for teams it is the kind of thing that could radically alter their business.

  1. bcb1999 - Jan 20, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Sounds good to me. Here in DC, it could be used to send traffic updates to people after halftime, when they want to leave another Wiz blowout…

  2. stillbleedingblue - Jan 20, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Because we Oklahoma City folk don’t no bout dat der technology stuff. Sounds like witchcraft to me. Get a grip!

    • bcb1999 - Jan 20, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      Yeah, all y’all know is growing wheat and dodging tornadoes…right?

      Stereotypes are fun!

  3. dougmanoh - Jan 20, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    This isn’t really basketball newsworthy in this forum in my humble opinion. This might belong in the business section of the newspaper though.

  4. dsimp724 - Jan 20, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    In miami it could send eddie curry hot dog updates after 3 qtrs.

  5. stillbleedingblue - Jan 20, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    We’s toofless and trailer dwellers too.

  6. willardj - Jan 20, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    Sounds good to me.

  7. ispysomething7 - Jan 21, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    I just want to know where the trim is. Will it tell you that?

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