As the anticipation builds towards a new basketball season starting on Oct. 22, the NBA’s Sacramento Kings announced that they will become the first American professional sports team to offer a blockchain-based crypto token. Named the Kings Token, the new crypto is aimed at rewarding loyal fans of the California based franchise.
The new token will feature within a token wallet in the team’s Golden 1 Center app and has been paired with a predictive gaming platform that tracks fan participation and engagement. Points earned on the platform can be used to redeem courtside tickets, signed merchandise, and to access unique events. The gaming platform was developed in anticipation of changing laws on sports gambling in California after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal restriction on sports betting in 2018.
In the announcement Sacramento Kings Chairman, CEO and Governor Vivek Ranadive said, “We have only just begun to see the benefits of blockchain technology as it transforms the way business is conducted worldwide, ensuring secure transactions across multiple sectors and customers, ” adding, “We are committed to continuing to deliver the best fan experience and are excited to bring this transformative technology to life to award our loyal fans through experiences in a secure and transparent way.”
The new rewards come in the form of an ERC-20 token that will run on Ethereum and was developed in partnership with blockchain-based ticketing platform Blockparty. In the future, Blockparty plans to expand the benefits of the Kings Token to include rewarding fans for eating at nearby restaurants, making it to the game before tip-off, and enabling users to send tokens to their peers. Fans will not be able to have a private key or be able to trade their token for another currency, but they will be able to use a QR code to redeem points and confirm transactions. Blockparty is using the Kings Token as an example to prepare a case study that will be shared with other NBA teams if the project is successful.
Blockparty chief development officer Vladislav Ginzburg told CoinDesk that, “Forty-one games of 20,000 people — I’m going to go ahead and say that many of those people don’t own any crypto whatsoever. Suddenly by downloading the Golden 1 Center app, they are going to have an ERC-20 wallet with an ERC-20 token.”
During the 2019–2020 season, Blockparty will track fan participation and engagement as they bet on a predictive gaming platform named Call the Shot. Developed in partnership with software company Xperiel, Call the Shot is the first mobile offering from an NBA team that offers high-frequency predictive gaming to fans. In the game, players generate points in a virtual wallet on the Sacramento Kings and Golden 1 Center app.
The Kings made headlines by becoming the first NBA team to accept Bitcoin as payment at the team’s official store after partnering with cryptocurrency payment processor BitPay in 2014. In 2018, the Kings became the first US professional sports team to mine cryptocurrency. The team collaborated with crypto hardware company MiningStore to install mining machines in the Golden 1 Center. The mined crypto was used to start the MiningForGodd program. MiningForGold a multi-year scholarship program for technology education and workforce development in Sacramento.
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