As the National Basketball Association gears up for its anticipated first game in a sports starved nation, the league said 300 fans will appear live courtside on giant video screens to react and interact. More than 30 cameras will be repositioned closer to court to showcase “never-before-seen camera angles” in places that are not accessible with fans in the arena.
Microphones will capture enhanced sounds from the floor, including sneaker squeaks and ball bounces. DJs and announcers will be in-venue to help replicate the sounds and experiences teams are accustomed to in-arena, the NBA said, part of “a multidimensional plan for in-venue and broadcast enhancements” for the resumption of the 2019-20 season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.
The fans on the screens – Michelob ULTRA Courtside 17-foot video boards — will digitally interact with each other using Microsoft technology as part of a strategic alliance with tech giant. Michelob ULTRA is the NBA’s official beer partner.
Viewers will have the ability to impact visual effects in the venue through a virtual cheering experience. Fans can digitally “cheer” for their team through the NBA App and NBA.com and on Twitter using team hashtags. The virtual cheering will be reflected on the video boards in-venue with graphics and animations that capture the level of fan engagement around the world. Fans will also have the opportunity to see their videos featured through TikTok Challenges.
Snapchat’s augmented reality technology will lets fans explore a virtual rendering of the official court in Orlando.
NBA Digital, jointly managed by the NBA and Turner Sports, will provide customized viewing options on NBA League Pass and NBA TV via the NBA App and NBA.com. Fans will have access to alternate feeds with new camera angles, enhanced graphics, gaming options, in-language and influencers calling the game with a focus on areas such as analytics, fashion and music. Fans will also have access to live NBA Pick’Em: Trivia for every NBA game.
“Our goal is to create an enjoyable and immersive experience where fans can engage with each other and maintain a sense of community as we restart the season under these unique and challenging circumstances,” said Sara Zuckert, NBA Head of Next Gen Telecast.
“The core of our partnership with the NBA is delivering next-gen experiences for their fans on and off the court,” said Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft 365. “All of us at Microsoft can’t wait to watch an NBA game again and are excited to be part of the new fan experience.”