Lucira sets full-court press on COVID-19 with free pregame tests for some NBA ticketholders

The Golden State Warriors are the first professional sports team to provide coronavirus tests to fans who buy their tickets at least a week in advance. (Lucira Health)

Only days after obtaining the FDA's blessing for its at-home COVID-19 test to be sold over the counter, Lucira Health has already initiated a full-court press on the virus.

The Bay Area company has signed on to provide its tests at no cost to NBA ticketholders heading to Golden State Warriors games, beginning with the team's April 23 tipoff against the Denver Nuggets and the public reopening of the Warriors’ Chase Center arena in San Francisco.

Attendees who purchase their tickets at least a week before each game will be eligible to receive Lucira’s single-use test. Use of the kit is voluntary, and is not needed for ticketholders who are already fully vaccinated.

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The company's Check It kit includes a battery-powered testing device—a potential piece of pandemic memorabilia—to process nasal swab samples. The device returns results within 30 minutes, with positive results delivered in as quickly as 11 minutes.

Users can submit an included code via text message to receive a digital copy of their results, called a LUCI Pass, and to automatically submit the results to public health agencies.

Once ticketholders complete the test at home, they’ll be asked to link their LUCI Pass to Clear’s Health Pass portal; Clear recently partnered with the NBA to streamline health status verification at the doors of the league’s participating arenas, including the Chase Center.

The Warriors’ partnership with Lucira will make it easier for fans to comply with the California Department of Public Health’s mandate that all entrants to the state’s arenas provide proof of a full vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 48 hours of tipoff.

Lucira and the Warriors first piloted their partnership at the team’s April 19 away game against the Philadelphia 76ers, CEO Erik Engelson said in a release.

“Numerous COVID-19 studies have proven testing improves safety and health, especially with large public gatherings. No over-the-counter test has Lucira’s PCR-quality accuracy in such an easy-to-use form,” Engelson said.

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The test, which has demonstrated an accuracy rate of about 98%, became in November the first at-home COVID-19 diagnostic greenlighted by the FDA. At the time, it was only allowed to be used in clinical settings and prescribed by healthcare providers for self-testing at home.

However, earlier this month the FDA authorized the Check It test for over-the-counter purchases. Individuals with or without symptoms of the virus can now order the testing kit on Lucira's website for $55.

The company is counting on the OTC authorization to boost its sales after seeing its growth “hampered” by increased vaccinations and a slowdown in COVID testing in the U.S. over the first quarter of the year, Engelson said in a statement.

Ahead of the May 13 release of its full first-quarter financials, the company shared that it expects net revenues for the period to fall somewhere between $4 million and $4.5 million. This is the first quarter for which Lucira is publicly releasing its results, after the company closed an almost $176 million IPO in February.