- MGM Resorts International is sponsoring a gaming experience in the mobile app of the National Basketball Association's Sacramento Kings team. The "Call the Shot" game is free to play in the Sacramento Kings + Golden 1Center app and gives fans a chance to win prizes, per an announcement.
- "Call the Shot" lets sports fans to predict the outcomes for each quarter of a live game, such as shooting percentages, top scoring teams, top scoring players and which team will have the highest number of rebounds. The app awards correct guesses with virtual credits that can be used for in-app prizes, autographed Kings gear, game tickets or continued play through the end of the game.
- Fans playing at the arena or at home have a chance to see their names appear on the in-app leader board, which will then be projected onto the video board at the King's arena in Sacramento. The "Call the Shot" game was developed by Xperiel, which partnered with Amazon to deliver grand prizes to winner's homes.
MGM Resorts' sponsorship of the "Call the Shot" game in the Sacramento Kings app will help the hotel and casino operator to reach basketball fans, although California hasn't yet approved legalized sports betting. The "Call the Shot" game has the possibility to deepen brand engagement with fans, especially as mobile devices become more integrated with live sports entertainment at arenas and for viewers at home.
"When we first started working with the Kings a few years ago, [team owner] Vivek Ranadivé had the vision that any predictive gaming experience we create together should have a Vegas-like gaming feel without the actual wagering," Xperiel CEO and co-founder Alex Hertel said in the announcement.
The Sacramento Kings team has been an early adopter of mobile technology at a time when sports teams are looking to attract younger consumers to live games. In 2016, the team introduced in-app turn-by-turn directions at its arena and last fall, it became one of the first to adopt RCS messaging for customer service.
More broadly, the NBA is looking to mobile tech to drive engagement. Twitter last month signed a deal with the NBA to stream video that focuses on a single player during the second half of some games, demonstrating how professional sports leagues are seeking ways to connect with fans through memorable experiences, especially as the number of cord cutters continues to rise and TV broadcasts of games are seeing shrinking audiences. Last week's Super Bowl drew the lowest ratings since 2008, but its streaming viewership rose 20% to a record 7.5 million unique devices.
AT&T and the NBA this week announced a deal making the carrier that office wireless sponsor of the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, NBA 2K League and USA Basketball. As part of the agreement, AT&T will create events, community opportunities and technology innovations for fans, including next-generation content experiences like 4K, virtual reality, mixed reality and other immersive technology.