Mashable: NBA Releases Official Mobile App for Game Checkins

Posted: October 27, 2010 in NBA, Social Media

http://mashable.com/2010/10/26/nba-turnstile/

Not satisfied to sit on the sidelines of checkin games, the NBA is releasing NBA Turnstile, a mobile checkin service that lives inside NBA Game Time.

NBA Turnstile is a combo service that allows users to check into physical locations, a la Foursquare() and Gowalla() (the app integrates with these two services for its place database, and users can optionally check in to one or both), and into virtual locations, like televised games.

Digital checkins enable fans to check into nationally televised games on ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBA TV. NBA fans can also check into Turnstile through Fanvibe’s sports-centric checkin service.

The basic premise is that NBA fans can use Turnstile to check in to any game they watch, whether it be at the arena, a sports bar or from the comfort of their couch. The app, of course, also supports integration with Twitter() and Facebook() so users can share “shoutouts” to those social networks.

Turnstile replicates the game mechanics we’ve seen in other checkin apps, so at launch there’s points, badges — awarded for weekly, monthly and season-long checkins — and a leaderboard. Turnstile is both a national and regional effort; NBA Digital is working with each team to create official badges for their specific locations. Teams can also create their own badges and checkin promotions.

In speaking with Bryan Perez, senior vice president and general manager of NBA Digital, we get the sense that the NBA is taking a stab in the dark at location to capitalize on the popular trend, as well as shooting to catch up to MLB, which has made headlines for its impressive mobile applications.

Though we’ve seen the likes of NBA Turnstile before, it’s still noteworthy because it’s an official league application and will likely trickle down to individual teams, which means checkins and mobile location-based games will be introduced to new audiences. Plus, we’re told that Turnstile will be promoted as part of NBA Game Time television ads and in team arenas.

If checkins can motivate individuals to watch and attend more games, then the NBA will be playing the point guard position, validating the business opportunities surrounding these trends.

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