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Golden State Warriors enhance game day with beacon technology

National Basketball Association’s Golden State Warriors are integrating proximity technology into the team’s mobile application to enhance the game day experience at Oracle Arena.

The Warriors launched the new beacon technology on March 18 to create location-based marketing campaigns and deliver contextually-relevant content to fans. The technology is being powered by Sonic Notify.

“It’s really about using technology to enhance the fan experience,” said Kevin Cote, senior director of digital for the Golden State Warriors, Oakland, CA. “We’re not in denial that our fans are going to use their phones during games.

“For us it’s, ‘why not enhance their experience to give them special offers or exclusive content informative alerts and more,’” he said. “Why not integrate it into our mobile app so that the app itself becomes a companion to fans’ game day experience.

“We were all in with beacon technology. We think it’s something that’s going to continue to grow, and we’re excited to be one of the first sports venues to have full-scale implementation.”

Go Warriors
The Warriors mobile appl is available for free download in Apple’s App Store and Google Play. The app provides real-time scores, news, stats, highlights and photos.

Now, fans will be able to access special features when they step into Oracle Arena and pass by a beacon.

The stadium and basketball team can leverage beacon and proximity technology to detect where fans are and send them relevant messages. Some of the potential use cases include seat upgrade notifications, welcome messages, traffic alerts, exclusive content and in-arena offers.

The Warriors have already implemented two use cases for the beacon technology. When fans enter the stadium, they receive a welcome message with unique content for that game, be it a special discount for merchandise or content that is specific to the game.

Fans will also receive a message when they get to the top of the escalator, offering them the ability to upgrade their seats. If they click through on the notification, they will be directed to the feature in the app that lets them upgrade their seats.

“The key is to not overuse the technology right off the bat and hit people with a deluge of alerts,” Mr. Cote said. “But when done right, I think it can be something that’s a utility for fans and an experiential enhancement to their experience at the arena.

“Everything that enhances their experience without it being strictly a sales pitch,” he said. “It’s only highly valuable information that’s going to enhance their experience.”

Sports locations
While retailers have been somewhat slow to adopt beacon and proximity-based technology, sports teams and venues have been among the first to jump on board.

Stadiums, arenas and other sports venues are leveraging beacon and Bluetooth technology to deliver geo-located, personalized deals and messaging (see story).

For instance, the NFL leveraged beacons at MetLife Stadium and Times Square for the Super Bowl to deliver hyper-personalized messaging and advertising via the NFL Mobile app.

With fans having the ability to watch games from the comfort of their couch and on HD screens, sports teams and venues need to work extra hard to get them out of the house. Beacon and proximity location is one way to enhance the game experience and entice fans to come out to the stadium.

“Mobile is crucial to our game day experience,” Mr. Cote said. “Especially as a team in the ever plugged in Bay Area, we have an incredibly connected fan base. Our fans expect to be able to use their phones at games.

“Our goal is to use technology to enhance the game via their mobile device,” he said. “We have a Facebook check-in, where you automatically get an item or experience. We have a Twitter feed on our scoreboard, we have text message promotions, we have a mobile app, and that’s all because we know our fans have that expectation.

“Today’s fan experience is much different than it was ten years ago, even five years ago, and we want to make sure we embrace mobile technology in every way. In addition to enhancing the game day experience and making sure the fan is happy its rewarding for us because those fans become our most passionate advocates, when they’re checking in on Facebook and tweeting about the game, that’s a benefit to us, but we have to equip them with that ability.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York