“We have an opportunity to make basketball the premier sport of the 21st century,” Ranadive says. “Kind of like what soccer was in the 20th century (writer's note to U.S. readers - soccer yes soccer is the world's most popular sport). "With technology you can expand social networks, you can give people an opportunity to participate and identify with it in ways that haven’t been done before....When I look at the business of basketball, it’s more than basketball. It’s really a social network. You can use technology to capture that network, expand it, engage it, and then, obviously, to monetize it."
Wired describes the plan as "a complete rethinking of how fans interact with and follow the game, especially in the developing world."
Here's a taster of how it works, as described by Wired and Ranadivé, who believes his plan will turn the Kings into an enterprise worth far more than $534 million:
Ranadive, the first Indian-born majority owner of an NBA franchise, believes that’s a fraction of what the franchise will eventually be worth. He’s wasted no time implementing his plan. He had TIBCO build an app for the team. It includes a tab for Royal Circle, a social media network specifically for Sacramento fans. Interacting with the team digitally earns points that can be redeemed for tickets and Kings’ merch. Ranadive believes this “loyalty science” puts the Kings above others who have tried to use social media to engage fans.
“We are the only people to have actually created the science of understanding what it takes to provide the right psychological experience,” he says. “We know the action to take to convert sentiment into intention and then intention into action. That’s key to turning customers into fans.”
While the Kings draw noisy - although not always large - crowds to the Big Sleep, Ranadivé now hopes they make a much larger din down the data pipes.
For the Sacramento team, the future could be nothing but Net.
Cover photo is from CLopez63 via Wikimedia