As the 2019-20 NBA season restarts on July 30 in Orlando – without any spectators in attendance – fans will have a chance to enjoy a reimagined virtual experience during live games. The NBA (National Basketball Association) is a professional basketball league in the US.
Each game court will have 17-foot-tall LED screens that wrap three sides of the arena. These ‘stands’ will then be populated with more than 300 cheering fans who will join the game using the recently announced Together mode in Microsoft Teams. The feature uses AI to segment your face and shoulders and place to together with other attendees in a shared virtual space, like a conference room or coffee shop or a playing arena in this case. The fans will be able to watch a live feed of the game and have a view of their fellow fans.
This new experience will give participating fans the feeling of sitting next to one another at a live game without leaving the comfort and safety of their homes. Players too will experience their energy and support and see the real-time reaction of fans while they are playing.
This partnership is part of the the strategic alliance that Microsoft announced with the NBA in April this year to create next-gen experiences for basketball fans while offering its cloud and AI services.
The NBA has also announced a slew of in-venue as well as broadcast and digital enhancements for a more immersive viewing experience. As the sporting action resumes across the world, this innovative use of Microsoft Teams would inspire many sports associations and leagues as well as broadcasters to create interesting virtual fans experiences for communal viewing while staying at home.