Kings’ Fans Can Now Bet Against Each Other: Gambling & Data Camels Poke Noses Under Arena Tent

The ever-innovative Sacramento Kings are breaking ahead of the pack again. According to SportTechie’s Mark Burns, (based upon his discussions with Kings’ Chief Tech Officer Ryan Montoya), fans at Kings’ games will be able to take advantage of the team’s ‘Golden 1 Apps,’ which will allow them to get real-time data about “parking, arena lines, player stats, menu items [and] seat upgrades, fan experiences, mobile food ordering and payment.

Innovative, maybe, but not necessarily cutting edge. Here’s what is cutting edge, though: according to Burns’ report, “the Kings also have a gaming element embedded in the app, where fans can place in-arena wagers against other fans and, at the end of the night, those fans atop the leaderboard will win game experiences and prizes.”

Serial, Contemporaneous Bets: This is startling. It also is a tiny precursor, in rapidly unfolding great story of New-Data’s digital impact upon sports, of what may be coming. Pro tennis, for example, is now vexed with problems associated with world-wide ‘contemporaneous’ wagers placed on each point (as opposed to the entire match). Bettors gain access to important on-site data from ‘trackers,’ attending the match in person, who transmit information digitally, from smart phones. The setup allows ‘serial’ bets to be placed, so fans anywhere in the world can be betting on every point played. (In contrast, as I understand it, British football is not so much vexed by such real-time, per-play betting: they are thrilled by the staggering amounts wagered.)

Player Micro-Performance Data as Basis for Serial, Real-time Bets: With its new ‘Golden 1’ apps, the Kings have built a clever platform, whereby live attendees can similarly participate in ‘in-arena’ betting competitions, which will apparently allow similar ‘serial’ bets, to be placed on each play (or some other logical segment of the game.) And it doesn’t take Isaac Asimov or even Dick Tracy to make an educated (if not wild-assed) guess that, within just a matter of years, ‘fantasy’ fans on the couch at home (or in the arena), may be able to place such serial, per-point bets on football or basketball game, within an app provided by the team. And an additional educated guess is that such betting, whether on-site or off-site, will be exponentially enriched (or complicated) by that fan’s access to the kind of detailed, in-game Player ‘Micro-Performance Data’ generated by hardware and software already available. Imagine sitting at home on your couch, with a read-out on (one of) your screens, telling you the real-time heart-rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate of every player, but also a prediction, based upon algorithmic-analysis, of every play run by that team for previous 1, 5, and 10-year periods — and then thumb-texting your bet on the outcome (or even the choice of) the next play. And then doubling-down on the next play. And imagine if your participation in such betting is through FanDuel or Fantasy Sports, who have, by the time of this imagined future setting) signed lucrative contracts with the professional or NCAA team to obtain and use such elaborate team and Player Micro-Performance Data.

It’s clear that the team owns its own data. But who owns this extremely valuable Player Micro-Performance Data?


About brewonsouthu

lawyer, with interest in college sports and NCAA oversight and decisions, and sports generally.
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