Those who are familiar with Sacramento, California’s state capitol know that the city in the midst of an economic resurgence. As a resident there during the height of the “Great Recession” I, like many, believed that “SacTown,” as it is affectionately known, had bit the “economic” dust. So lets call this a bit of good news.
The epicenter of this struggle has been a moribund downtown which has suffered from blight due largely to a lack of civic activity in its center-city core. Enter former pro basketball hoopster and mayor Kevin Johnson who has successfully championed a new downtown arena for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings—a key shot-in-the-arm for the city’s fortunes.
On the heels of this development, the Kings “bit” on an innovative approach to boosting civic interest and payment efficiency through adoption of the digital currency Bitcoin. This announcement minted the team as the first major professional sports franchise to accept this form of monetary transaction. This was all done via a partnership with BitPay—a highly recognized payment processor for virtual currencies.
The major catalyst behind this bold move was majority team owner Vivek Ranadive. It was fueled by a business philosophy that he coined called “NBA 3.0.”, which strategically focuses on technology investments, globalization, and deep community partnerships. Moreover, the BitPay collaboration infuses the local digital footprint with a new energy that franchise and city leaders hope will help drive consumer activity to the downtown core.
With the Sacramento Kings as the prime mover, this development in the capitol of the 8th largest economy in the world makes sense along a number of different fronts:
1. Media Buzz: As the first pro franchise to accept Bitcoin, the Kings and the city have injected an element of novelty that will provide a much needed spike in consumer curiosity and interest.
2. Repute: This move helps to reinforce California’s reputation as the lead dog in technology innovation and application. Further, it positions the Kings franchise as the first mover adopter in the digitalization of monetary transactions in pro sports.
3. Global Presence: The King’s Bitcoin adoption creates an expanded awareness of global money transactions in one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. In fact, Sacramento was recognized as one of the the most racially diverse and integrated city in the nation, according to Harvard University’s Civil Rights Project.
4. Consumer Transaction Ease: The Kings are now accepting bitcoins in their Kings Team Store and plans are in the works to offer fans the ability to pay online for tickets and other amenities.
Some will argue this the King’s acceptance of Bitcoin represent a bit of a risk given the currencies volatile nature. Personally I think it’s a sound move that will reap major dividends relative to the fortunes of the franchise and city.
Michael Scott is a speaker, advisor and writer on emerging new economy trends. He can be reached at [email protected] And please visit his blog at http://urbanelibertarian.tumblr.com