So, you’ve got Golden State Warriors seats, and they’re up next to God? Don’t worry, denizens of the nosebleed section, The Warriors will let you know if there are any better seats available for the game, and they’ll
bug notify you about them via Apple’s iBeacons and your iPhone.
Sneaking into better seats is a time-honored tradition among sports fans, but in recent years, teams have started using mobile apps to persuade attendees to pay more instead. Pro baseball teams began selling seat upgrades through smartphones last season, and the Warriors have been doing the same.
The Warriors are the first team in the NBA to track their fan’s locations in the arena via iBeacons, Apple low-energy Bluetooth sensors that can communicate with any iPhone that has the team’s app installed.
iBeacons are currently in use in many retail stores to notify shoppers of specials and offers. Apple Stores, Macy’s, and several grocery store chains are using them to interact with shopper’s devices. The NFL also tried them out during the Super Bowl, and 20 Major League Baseball stadiums are using them this year.
While stores have to worry about irritating shoppers, sports fans are more open to such technology, says Aaron Mittman, chief executive of Sonic Notify, the company that installed the beacons in Oracle Arena, home of the Warriors. “You’re not going to get mad at the Golden State Warriors and go to some other arena instead,” he says.
Most Golden State fans aren’t going to find themselves bothered by notifications for now. Studies show that only about 30% of smartphones are equipped with the required Bluetooth Low Energy feature, and fewer than 30% of those folks keep it turned on. However, it is a good idea for teams like the Warriors to look to the future, as Forrester Research notes that 80% of all phones will have Bluetooth LE tech installed within the next 18 months.
Currently, the Warriors sell out almost every home game, and available seats for upgrading usually total around 50 for each game. Kevin Cote, senior director of the Warriors’ digital efforts, reports the team generally sells around half of the upgrade seats it promotes via the app.