Vivek ranadive 2

Technology and the future of attending an NBA game


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.

Players’ union, NBA to set up cardiac screening for retired players

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First it was Darryl Dawkins. Then it was Moses Malone.

Two all-time great players who recently died — and at t0o young an age, 58 and 60 respectively — from undiagnosed heart conditions. Even before that, recognizing the issue the NBA players union and the league itself were setting up supplemental health coverage to provide cardiac screening for retired players, something ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan recently broke.

The joint effort between union executive director Michele Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver — at a time when there still may be potentially acrimonious labor negotiations looming for their sides — is intended to ease the health concerns of its retired players.

Roberts said action from the players’ association on providing screening for its retired players is “imminent.”

“I wish I could give you an exact timetable, but we have to make sure all the components are in place,” Roberts told ESPN recently. “I will tell you we hope to have something sooner than later.”

The Cardiologists are affiliated with the NBA already, and some of the money will come from the league, while the union is both pitching in a chunk of cash and is the one organizing this, according to the report.

It’s good to Roberts and Silver working together on this. While you’d like to think this would be the kind of no-brainer move that the league and union would work together on, in the past the relationship didn’t always facilitate this sort of cooperation even on the obvious.

I’d like to think this bodes well for future labor talks, but I’m not willing to completely draw that parallel.


Stephen Curry drops 30 on Portland in preseason (VIDEO)

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Somebody is in midseason form.

Stephen Curry put up 30 on Portland in a preseason game Thursday night, hitting six threes and getting to the line 15 times over the course of his less than 26 minutes. It was quite a show.

Portland won the game 118-101 behind 25 points from Allen Crabbe and 22 from Damian Lillard. Not a lot of defense in this one but it was fun to watch.