NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — The Sacramento Kings are going virtual. The NBA franchise announced January 16 that it will become the first major pro sports team to accept the virtual currency Bitcoin. Fans will be able to pay for tickets and team merchandise using bitcoins by March 1. The franchise already accepts bitcoins at its team store in the Sleep Train Arena.

This action is the influence of the team's lead owner. The majority owner of the Kings, Vivek Ranadivé, is a high-tech kind of guy. He was the founder of TIBCO, a computing company. But the native of India was also a driving force behind bringing high-tech to Wall Street back in the 1980s.

Ranadive founded founded Teknekron Software Systems in 1986. This company computerized Wall Street and subsequently stock markets throughout the world. So it would only follow that he would be interested in introducing high-tech into the world of pro sports.

The transactions will be processed through BitPay, a payment processor. The team considers BitPay's Bitcoin Payment Gateway API the most advanced and most reliable bitcoin-processing platform available.

"We make it easy for businesses like the Sacramento Kings to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment both in-person and online," said Tony Gallippi, co-founder and CEO of BitPay, in a release issued by the team. "As the first professional sports team to accept Bitcoin, the Sacramento Kings continue to show that they are at the intersection of sports and technology."

The team believes that the BitPay platform will offer fans the ability to purchase the Kings' product quickly and securely. Given that Sacramento is only two hours from Silicon Valley, there would appear to be a ready market for this. If nothing else, it is an image enhancer for the team.

"We are maniacally focused on creating the most seamless experience for our fans in all facets," said Ranadivé in a prepared statement. "With BitPay, we are able to implement a technology that allows our fans to make Kings-related purchases without physically reaching into their wallets. A major tenet of the NBA 3.0 philosophy is about utilizing technology for the betterment of the fan experience, and this is yet another step in that process."

"NBA 3.0" is the term Ranadivé used to describe a technology oriented business that also emphasizes globalization and localization. It is a dynamic business philosophy.

There are skeptics, though. There are those who think this is a gimmick to promote a team that is not playing very well.

Victor Matheson, an economics professor at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts who specializes in sports economics, says he thinks this payment advent is more a boon for the crypto currency..

"It is probably better for Bitcoin then it is for Sacramento," Matheson pointed out. "I do not think there are many people out there who are saying I would have gone to the Kings game tonight if only they had accepted Bitcoin. I don't think accepting bitcoins is what is going to get fans to come watch a 14-23 Sacramento team."