Sacramento Kings Show Willingness to Take Risks by Accepting Bitcoin

Alex KayCorrespondent IJanuary 17, 2014

Vivek Ranadive, the new majority owner of the Sacramento Kings NBA basketball team smiles as a season ticket holder he called pledged to renew their seats, during a visit to the team's offices at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, May 23, 2013. Ranadive joined employees in calling season ticket holders to encourage them to renew their tickets for next season. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

The Sacramento Kings are making history by becoming the first professional sports team to accept the online currency Bitcoin as a form of payment for tickets.

This is just the latest in a series of moves that shows this team is serious about pushing the envelope and isn’t averse to taking gambles in order to become successful.

According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, owner Vivek Ranadive has a desire to be on the cutting edge and is living up to a promise he made when he convinced the league to keep the franchise in Sacramento.

Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Ranadive said of this groundbreaking decision:"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. This is an example of that."

As of Thursday, one Bitcoin is valued at $850, but the exchange rate tends to fluctuate at a much more rapid rate than government-issued currency, as per Rovell.

It’s a huge step toward making paper tickets and money obsolete inside of Sleep Train Arena, as electronic wallets and currency become more popular.

There is definitely a major risk involved, as digital cash can be erased and the economy is prone to volatility. However, if this venture is successful, it could be profitable and revolutionize the ticket market for sports events.

The Kings are hoping to find success as an outside-the-box type franchise. They don’t play in a large market and don’t have the biggest stars, but they do have a chance at competing in a few years due to a core built around superstar center DeMarcus Cousins. He’s rapidly emerging as the top pivot in the NBA and his supporting cast is seemingly improving by the day.

Jim Mone/Associated Press

The team stuck its neck out earlier this season, acquiring the nearly down-and-out Rudy Gay from the Toronto Raptors for spare parts.

He’s since revived his career and is playing better than he has in years. The swingman is now shooting 46.1 percent from three-point land, well above the 34.5 percent he was connecting on from beyond the arc prior to the December deal.

General manager Pete D’Alessandro orchestrated the deal, his first major move as Kings GM, but gave Ranadive credit for providing the financial backing and willingness to bring more talent to Sacramento, as per the Associated Press (via ESPN):

"We need players here in Sacramento and that's just the bottom line," said D'Alessandro, who praised the owner's financial backing on the trade. "We've had a lot of really good backups for a long time and now we are acquiring starters. That's the first step."

While accepting Bitcoins isn’t the same as orchestrating a blockbuster trade in the NBA, it does fall along the same lines as a high-risk, high-reward maneuver. The new-look Kings are knocking those out of the park under Ranadive, so it looks like this Bitcoin venture has a great chance of being a successful one.