Better Fan Experience with Connected Processes
Blog: Jim Sinur
The Sacramento Kings new entertainment and sports center is the first digital coliseum of the 21st century. Given the mission – to deliver a truly connected experience– the Kings needed to ensure the arena, app and anything under the hood remain ‘future-proof’ by delivering continuous innovation and upgrades to the overall experience for years to come. A seamless and frictionless fan experience that begins long before you get to the arena and last beyond the final buzzer.
The first step was to build an app for the 2015-16 season – the final year at the Sleep Train Arena – to provide the best experience possible and test future integrations in an app. With features like realtime stats, experience upgrades, in-seat food ordering, merchandise browsing and Uber integration, the app has already provided Kings fans with an invaluable experience leading up to the opening of Golden 1 Center. It also allowed the Kings to deliver an updated app even before the new Golden 1 Center opened for the 2016-17 season.
To this end, they needed a highly scalable platform to power their mobile app, bring together many different services and also demonstrate the ability to be constantly updated. In addition, the app environment needed to facilitate the testing and deployment of yet-to-be-released features for the upcoming season. However, connecting the world’s most technologically advanced arena and making it work effortlessly with a mobile app was a daunting task.
The app’s connected infrastructure supports everything from realtime stats and play-by-play updates to the ability to order an Uber, giving fans a reliable means of connecting with the team in the buildup to the opening of the new arena. Continual advancement has been the cornerstone of the Kings, and will assure the Kings App stays ahead of the pack even after Golden 1 Center opened.
“The new platform provides us with a nimble and robust technology foundation. We’re able to test and iterate innovations with fans on demand. We can try out new services at any time and if our fans like them, incorporate them into the mobile app. Or, if we come across a better offering, we can unplug the existing service and plug in the upgrade. Having a dynamic platform allows us to foster an enhanced fan experience that continually evolves” said CTO Ryan Montoya.
Using a combination of advanced flow and integration products is hailed as an enterprise-grade best practice by the Kings team for the following reasons:
- By investing in ‘products as a service’, the Kings ensure that adopting new technology is seamless and does not require continuous in-house maintenance and upgrades.
- The platform auto-scales and is highly synchronous, so no one has to do anything to keep the app running and deliver the latest game details. Under the hood, the apps runs 1,500 flows, or automations, per game across 10 different APIs spanning the NBA, Urban Airship and PubNub. This automates a realtime game experience with up-to-the-moment scores, play-by-play details, shot charts, team and player stats, as well as daily news and multimedia updates.
- This combination of products is the backbone that accommodates the massive number of integrations (30+) that will be present in the updated Kings App to be released prior to the opening of Golden 1 Center.
The new infrastructure has put the Kings in a position to achieve the objective of a worldwide fanbase. The fans are really pleased with the experience no matter the outcome of the games.