The Sacramento Kings announced Thursday that they would become the first professional sports franchise to accept Bitcoin virtual currency. From March 1st fans will be able to use the currency to buy from the team store and pay for match tickets.
"When I sold the NBA on keeping the team in Sacramento, my pitch included using the sports franchise as a social network to push the technology envelope," Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive told ESPN.com. "This is an example of that."
Ranadive said that the acceptance of Bitcoin is one step closer to allowing fans to keep their wallets at home, thanks to what will eventually be a ticketless and cashless environment at the arena.
"My kids would go to games and ask why we didn't accept Bitcoin," Ranadive said. They are some technologically savvy kids you've got there Vivek.
Although Bitcoin is five years old and has a market value of roughly $11 billion, the idea of retailers accepting this form of payment is in its infancy. Earlier this month, Overstock.com became the first major retailer to accept the virtual money, which unlike the value of government-issued money, fluctuates rapidly. On Thursday, one Bitcoin was worth approximately $850.
As part of pushing techonology, Ranadive also said that the team is experimenting with Google Glass, which has a small computer mounted on an eyeglass frame. He said he believes the device could enhance the fan experience and even allow Kings coaches to do their job better during a game.
So it's a definite possibility that Mike Malone and his assistants could be on the sidelines with the miniature computers right in front of their eyes.