The NBA is set to officially restart it on Thursday (Jul.30), and if you have been watching the tune-up games, it’s a bit weird without fans. The league is looking to tackle that issue by partnering with Microsoft.
Let’s face it, while we are happy to have sports back, it’s just not the same without fans in the arenas and stadiums cheering on their favorite teams due to COVID-19. The NBA is looking to somewhat remedy that situation by teaming up with Microsoft and using the tech company’s Microsoft Teams to project more than 300 fans into the National Basketball Association’s bubble arena.
The invited fans will appear on 17-foot video screens and will be able to interact with each other during the games. The goal is to give them the feeling of sitting next to each other at an actual game without leaving the safety of their homes.
This latest innovation coming to the NBA’s bubble should also help those players who feed the energy of fans. The new NBA fan experience will be utilizing Microsoft Team’s latest feature called “together mode.” When Microsoft first unveiled “together mode,” it was described as a way of “helping you focus on other people’s faces and body language and making it easier to pick up on the non-verbal cues that are so important to human interaction.”
Together mode utilizes AI segmentation technology that will put the fans who will be attending the games in a shared space giving the feeling that they are all in the same room in this case arena.
The NBA also announced that fans will be able to impact the visual effects in the arena using what they called “virtual cheering.” Using the NBA app, website, and hashtags on Twitter, fans will be able to virtually cheer for their favorite teams.
If you want a good idea of how this will look in action, think of it as a zoom meeting but watching a game.
Not sure if we’re totally on board with this, but whatever helps to make things seem somewhat normal during these times is welcomed.
Photo: Miami Herald / Getty