During a Golden State Warriors home game, you’ll likely find Daniel Brusilovsky somewhere inside the Chase Center in San Francisco, ensuring that the team’s technology runs smoothly, from tip off to the final buzzer.
Brusilovsky, the Vice President of Technology for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, and for the team’s arena, the Chase Center, ensures technology can support fan experiences, concerts, and other experiences at the venue. He also holds responsibility for “dreaming about what’s next” for digital and in-person experiences bolstered by new technologies, like AI, mobile, and 5G/6E capabilities.
Brusilovsky said he oversees two groups of technology staffers: one that focuses on technology infrastructure, and another that focuses on product and fan-facing experiences.
We caught up with Brusilovsky at Collision Toronto, where he was among the speakers.
Nurturing Crazy Ideas Requires the Infrastructure to Support Them
“We have a lot of ideas that we’re looking at doing… as the technology develops, and we [want to ensure] we have the infrastructure to support it,” he said. “The last thing I want is for someone to come to me or my team and say, ‘We have this crazy idea,’ and for us to not be able to say yes.”
Brusilovsky said the Warriors have made long-term investments in bandwidth and networking infrastructure. “These investments that we made when we opened the Chase Center are supposed to last for a number of years. We’re not upgrading every year like an iPhone,” he said.
With solid infrastructure in place, Brusilovsky said the organization is looking at expanding its AR, VR, and mobile offerings — both inside and outside the arena. The team’s mobile app has become increasingly important to fans since the pandemic began, he said. Now, fans use it as a way to interact with one another in real time whenever the team is on the court. The feature, called Game Mode, gives fans access to trivia, polls, leaderboards, and prizes. It also allows fans to check the box score and game statistics.
Sometimes, experiments and improvements happen with the help of partners. The Warriors and the Chase Center have over 70 technology partnerships, with companies like Google Cloud, Adobe, and Ticketmaster.
We’re not looking to get 50 percent better between every single event; that’s impossible. We are looking to get 5 percent better, 10 percent better — to find those little things that we can do, that we can learn from, that maybe didn’t hit the mark
“If there’s something crazy we want to do, chances are I can go to one of our partners and say, ‘Are you interested in doing this with us, and trying it with us, and testing it out?’ More often than not, the answer is yes,” Brusilovsky said. “Sometimes it’s us being the guinea pig; sometimes it’s them being the guinea pig.”
Incremental Improvements for Forward Movements
While Brusilovsky said it’s important to go for the occasional half-court shot, he said that less ambitious incremental improvements are also important to the team’s progress.
His team tracks fan and consumer insights and data closely to identify opportunities for smaller enhancements.
“We’re not looking to get 50 percent better between every single event; that’s impossible. We are looking to get 5 percent better, 10 percent better — to find those little things that we can do, that we can learn from, that maybe didn’t hit the mark,” he explained.
‘We Want to Do Everything Great’
Brusilovsky said that as the organization evaluates emerging technologies, it uses two lenses.
“One is, ‘Does this directly impact the fan experience in a positive way, and does this support the business?’ What I mean is, is this something that our fans will walk away and say, ‘I’ve been able to do X, Y, and Z, better, faster or more efficiently because of this,’” he said. “The second lens is, because of that, are we able to generate more revenue or create a better experience because we’re reinvesting capital?”
Brusilovsky said a good example of a technology upgrade his team helped implement in the Chase Center was WiFi 6E, which provides faster, more reliable internet access, through a partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Aruba Networks. In doing that, he said, the technology team opened new doors for fan experience options.
“We saw [6E] as an amazing solution to enhance the fan experience from a connectivity standpoint. When we do that, we can enable things like mobile ordering and additional ticket purchasing and other transactional experiences. We lead with fan experience, but the transaction part follows,” Brusilovsky said.
More than that, though, Brusilovsky said his team will not make investments simply because it will make headlines. Instead, he said, he and his team carefully evaluate technology and implement solutions that work smoothly and serve a specific purpose.
“There’s often this, either first-mover advantage, or publicity advantage of, ‘Well, we’re going to do it just to do it; not necessarily because we think it provides a lot of value,’” Brusilovsky said. “But from a technology standpoint… we never want to do anything good. We want to do everything great. If we can’t do it the best way possible, then we as an organization don’t want to do it, because we don’t think we’re doing a great service to our fans [and] our stakeholders.”