Charlotte Hornets Launches Virtual Fan Store on the MeetKai Metaverse

Fans of the NBA team will be able to enjoy an immersive shopping experience from the comfort of their homes.
Image source: GamesBeat

Quick take:

  • Hornets Virtual Fan Shop is the NBA’s first virtual team store.
  • The collaboration aims to connect the fans with their team through an immersive shopping experience.
  • The virtual shop is accessible through the web and no download is required.

Charlotte Hornets has partnered with AI and metaverse platform MeetKai to launch a virtual fan store in the metaverse. Fans of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based team will enjoy an immersive shopping experience from the comfort of their homes.

The experience allows fans across the country and internationally to completely immerse themselves in the Hornets’ fandom. The virtual store uses digital twin technology to create a replica of the physical store.

According to the announcement, the Hornets Virtual Fan Shop is accessible through mobile devices or web browsers. The virtual store offers a wide range of Hornets merchandise, including jerseys, T-shirts, hats, and collectibles.

“The virtual store has banners that hang like what you see in the actual store at Spectrum Center,” said Seth Bennett, chief marketing officer at the Charlotte Hornets, told GamesBeat. “The experience is lifted directly from what a customer would see in person.”

And like many immersive digital twin experiences, purchases made in the virtual fan shop will be conveniently delivered to fans’ homes. Hornets uses the sports apparel and Fan Gear Store, Fanatics as its e-commerce partner.

Commenting on the partnership, James Kaplan, CEO of MeetKai told GamesBeat: “Our goal has always been this idea of an easy, accessible metaverse focused on browser native platforms and we’ve come a long way with our performance and capabilities. What we’ve worked on with the Charlotte Hornets is something that we think is unique, not just in the NBA, but across all sports that we’ve seen so far.”

Fans can also enjoy gamified experiences using VR headsets, should they wish to. Currently, they can “pick up mini basketballs and shoot them at small hoops in the store,” GameBeat reported. But there are more experiences planned for the future.

“It’s pretty much available wherever you are,” Kaplan said. “It’s a three-way partnership between us, the Hornets and Fanatics as the retail backend partner. We focused on a store that has no friction.”


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