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NBA to Let Fans Sit Courtside Using Microsoft Teams, Add Extra Camera Angles & Enhanced Graphics to Streams

Torrey Hart

The National Basketball Association will bring in a select number of fans via video streaming to every game during the restarted fan-less season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex that begins next week, it announced Friday.

The league will invite 300 fans to appear live on “Michelob ULTRA Courtside” 17-foot video boards surrounding the court. To give fans the feeling of sitting together at a game, they will interact using Microsoft Teams’ “Together mode,” which removes fans from their individual backgrounds and brings them together in a shared visual space that will be seen both through the broadcast and in the venue.

More than 30 cameras, including many in robotic form, will be repositioned closer to the court and show case never-before-seen camera angles in places that are otherwise not accessible with fans in the arena, the league said.

For NBA League Pass and NBA TV users via the NBA App and NBA.com, fans will also 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,” the NBA said.

In addition to the Teams video board, all viewers will “have the ability to impact visual effects in the venue through a virtual cheering experience.” Fans will be able to digitally cheer for their team through the NBA App and NBA.com and on Twitter using team hashtags throughout the game. 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.

Microphones around the court will capture enhanced sounds from the floor, including sneaker squeaks and ball bounces, and DJs and announcers will be in-venue to help replicate the sounds and experiences teams are accustomed to in-arena.

Fans may see their videos featured through TikTok Challenges, and Snapchat’s “ground segmentation” augmented reality technology will also give fans an opportunity to explore a virtual rendering of the official court in Orlando via a Lens wherever they are.

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