Cover Image for NBA Virtual Fans: Microsoft Teams and the NBA bring fans court-side to the NBA Bubble

NBA Virtual Fans: Microsoft Teams and the NBA bring fans court-side to the NBA Bubble

Gautham Balaji
|Fri Jul 24 2020


‘NBA Virtual fans’ is now a reality thanks to Microsoft Teams’ tie up with the NBA to enhance court-side fan experience in the Bubble.

NBA Virtual fans: What makes it possible?

NBA is harnessing Microsoft’s power to put basketball fans right next to the action.

The fans will watch the thrilling battles and be able to react in real-time. The players will also be able to see and hear the reactions. The virtual stands will warp the arena, and 17-foot LED screens will display the fans.

The lucky ones will appear on the screens and will be able to interact with each other throughout. The fans will be selected by the home teams of each game. Teams will go decide how to handle the selection among their fans.

Passionate fans will get a unique experience, the feeling of sitting alongside as supporters at a live game. The players will certainly be pumped up, as their supporters will be cheering from right next to them.

Moreover, Microsoft will also oversee if any abuses are hurled over the fan wall during the games. Rowdy fans will be removed from the wall as soon as any bad behaviour is detected.

The NBA and Microsoft partnership

The NBA entered a multiyear partnership with Microsoft in April.

The virtual viewing technology, one of the first products of their collaboration will debut when the season begins on July 30 in Orlando.

This deal between Microsoft & NBA includes the creation of a new direct-to-consumer platform that runs on the company’s cloud computing technology. From the 2020-2021 season, Microsoft will also be the “Official Artificial Intelligence Partner” and “Official Cloud and Laptop Partner” for the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, and USA Basketball

To enable a more ‘fan-involved’ experience, the NBA will use more than 30 cameras, including robotic devices, that are closer to the court where fans sit. Microphones will also be placed around the court to pick up sneaker squeaks and bounces. This will help simulate a more in-depth game experience for fans worldwide.

The deal seems to be a pretty sweet one and Microsoft is doing everything it can to make the Bubble experience worthwhile for the players and the fans.


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