Sports Teams Putting iBeacon into Their Arenas

Sports Teams Putting iBeacon in Their ArenasThe number of retail outlets and businesses using iBeacon technology continues to expand almost daily.

iBeacon, the indoor positioning system described by Apple as a “new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters,” enables push notifications to be sent to iOS devices in close proximity.

With the West Coast leading the way with iBeacon adoption, one of the first large-scale iBeacon deployments can be observed in the NBA.

As Bloomberg revealed this week, iBeacon is a hot commodity in a growing number of major U.S. sporting arenas.

Fans who bought nosebleed-seat tickets to see the Golden State Warriors, for example, may now receive a “friendly suggestion” from their phones when they step off the escalators at Oracle Arena that better seats are available for a small bump-up in price.

“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,” the report explains. “Pro baseball teams began selling seat upgrades through smartphones last season, and the Warriors have been doing the same. The idea is to boost demand by capitalizing on another tech craze working its way through professional sports: the use of cheap sensors to track people’s exact location within the stadium. The Warriors are the first in the NBA to roll out iBeacons, sensors that use low-energy Bluetooth signals to communicate with any phone that has the team’s app installed.”

Although iBeacon is now in place at the arena, most Golden State fans are unlikely to get the team’s notifications for now.  Sonic Notify says only about 30 percent of people who have phones equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy keep the feature turned on regularly.

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At Mahana (, we see that the number of people with iOS devices that have Bluetooth turned on is quite high because they need it on for their car audio and other devices that need Bluetooth to synch.  We have to tell people to turn it off if they don't want their information shared with the restaurant - although the reason for the service is to auto-checkin and share your information.