Basketball Fans To Come Together Virtually For NBA Games Through Artificial Intelligence

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The NBA is hoping to bring basketball fans together during the coronavirus pandemic even though they won’t be able to attend in-person games.

Through a partnership with Microsoft Teams, a communication platform many companies have been utilizing for work from home practices, the NBA is hoping to closely replicate the energy of a live game experience through artificial intelligence.

More than 300 fans will be able to appear on video boards surrounding the court at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, as players remain on venue and receive their virtual support.

“Those fans will have the opportunity to digitally interact with each other throughout the game using Microsoft’s ‘Together mode’ to create a virtual experience by removing fans from their individual backgrounds and bringing them together in a shared visual space that will be seen through the broadcast and in the venue,” the NBA said in a statement.

New camera positioning around the basketball court will also give fans, from the comfort and safety of their homes, digital access to viewpoints of the game that were otherwise hidden in the arena, officials said.

The NBA announced the virtual courtside experience on July 24 in time for the July 30 tip-off.

Trivia, chances to cheer for their team, the use of hashtags and other forms of virtual participation will also be offered to fans through this collaboration.