NBA Announces Launch Of Reimagined Global NBA App
The 2022 NBA App next-gen redesign two years in the making is produced by NBA Digital and Turner Sports’ joint venture and delivers curated data across the league’s newly integrated platform built by the Cloud and AI partner, Microsoft, on their Azure architecture. The newest and fan-friendly features include, a first of its kind “For-You” fan experience, personalization and fan preference basketball content generated by Microsoft AI, recommended and behind-the-scenes access to players and teams, plus shows, series and more, as well as social-style videos delivered vertically, and access to the NBA Vault, all for free. Fans can also look forward to the new NBA ID global membership program providing rewards and benefits from the leagues, clubs and business partners, also for free after joining. Each fan will have their custom fan experiences integrated into NBA League Pass, NBA Pick’Em and other digital services. The Sports Techie community blog is blown away once again by Turner, Microsoft and the NBA because of their progressive, innovative, forward-thinking, and international approaches to updating the popular sport app with sports technology enhanced navigation, streaming, tools, and activities. The timing of the app’s launch today couldn’t be better with NBA training camp beginning tomorrow on Sept, 28, followed by the start of the regular season on Tuesday, Oct. 18 with a TNT doubleheader featuring the 76ers and Celtics, followed by the Lakers and Warriors. Fan engagement just went to another level on the NBA App.
“Launching our new NBA app and digital platform is a major milestone as we continue to build and strengthen our direct-to-consumer offerings, said Chris Benyarko, NBA Executive Vice President, Direct-to-Consumer. “What makes this app unique in the sports world is that it’s both a deeply personalized experience and an all-in-one destination,” stated Benyarko.
NBA Cloud, AI, Azure and Social
“NBA fans are global, they’re dynamic, they’re diverse,” says Benyarko. “It’s vital to establish a direct relationship with our fans, so we’re in a position to make this app a resource that speaks to all things NBA and all things basketball.”
To meet the demand of NBA’s social media community consisting of a staggering 2.1 billion people worldwide, counted from league, team and player account metrics, and offer them each a truly personalized experience, the league partnered with Microsoft for a new integrated digital platform.
Ken DeGennaro, senior vice president of media operations and technology for the NBA, says Microsoft stood out with the ability to provide a complete platform to aggregate data and then act on it using advanced AI and machine learning. Microsoft’s own engineers and vast network of partners also meant the NBA could tap into the resources and expertise needed to bring its vision to life.
The need to provide for fans located around the world, across every continent and in every time zone, all speaking different languages, is a daunting task. Then to personalize content for each person with their preferred team, player or basketball love, is a remarkable sports tech enabled feat to achieve. Think about what it takes to scale and house all the data and content then create a steady flow taking into consideration changing time zones.
The league’s priority was to gather fan data then utilize these insights to personalize each person’s experiences while adding information about the game itself plus seamlessly blending in NBA facts, accomplishments and stories. This deep layer of content driven by machine learning features both live and historical content, statistics, game strategies and more, targeted towards present and future generations.
“We’re a basketball league,” said DeGennaro. He says, “We don’t need to reinvent what companies in the tech and broadcast industry already do so well. We’re focused on creating a differentiated basketball experience [for our fans]. Microsoft offered the Azure platform, the capabilities, and partners with deep expertise to help us put it all together.”
Benyarko said, “We think this platform makes it easy to be an NBA fan. It allows people to immerse themselves in what’s happening with the league. And there is much more to come.”
By being inaugural NBA ID members, fans have privileged access to new original content and fan favorites hosted in the NBA Vault’s cloud. Look for enhanced members-only experiences from NBA partners, ticket promotions, and prizes generated by predictive and sweepstakes-style NBA Pick’Em fantasy games, in addition to voting campaigns and other fan-centic rewards.
Vertical Video Feed
Much like TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts do, videos delivered vertically has become nearly a standard across the end user experience. The NBA app’s “For You” page offers social generated, vertical video consumption as a scroll experience full of what’s being called “real-time” highlights of every NBA game in progress. I’m not sure how accurate realtime highlights are but let’s believe it for now.
More content series and future enhanced NBA App features are to be announced as the 2022-23 season progresses.
NBA League Pass Integration
The league’s direct-to-consumer subscription offerings – NBA League Pass and NBA TV – will be integrated into the NBA App, giving fans the ability to watch live games and highlights and check scores, statistics and standings, all in one place. For NBA League Pass subscribers, the live streams will feature higher video quality, lower streaming latency and a seamless user experience for consuming live NBA content.
NBA League Pass returns this season with a new bundle and at its lowest pricing ever. For a limited time, the standard package is now available for $14.99 per month ($99.99 for full season) and the premium package for $19.99 per month ($129.99 for full season). Subscribers will automatically receive the NBA TV direct-to-consumer offering as part of the new bundle.
Content highlights on the NBA App include:
LIVE PROGRAMMING AND SOCIAL-STYLE CONTENT
- Gameday Experience – Fans will be immersed in game-day content all day long and, for the first time, get live access to streams of all pregame and postgame NBA press conferences and media days from every major event. In addition, NBA ID members will have access to teams’ pregame shows for NBA League Pass games.
- Lifestyle – Social-style content series looking at the lifestyle, culture, fashion, music and more around the game and off the court, including NBA Kicks, NBA Fits, Jersey Drop, Ride Along, Celebrity Row and NBA Ink, among others.
- “CrunchTime” – A free weekly whiparound show taking fans live to crucial moments of each game and providing real-time updates and analysis, produced by NBA TV and hosted by Jared Greenberg.
- “NBABet stream” – A weekly stream produced by NBA TV with betting expert Tim Doyle and a selection of top contributors to provide the latest betting information during live game coverage.
- Live NBA League Pass Programming – In addition to 24/7 NBA TV programming and out-of-market live games, NBA League Pass subscribers will have access to expanded options for personalized viewing experiences through a wide variety of alternate streams, including additional camera angles, betting-focused streams, influencer-led and analytics-driven options, and in-language feeds with commentary in three languages (Spanish, Portuguese and Korean). “NBA HooperVision” returns for its second season with former NBA players and hosts Nate Robinson and Quentin Richardson.
EXTERNAL CONTENT CONTRIBUTORS
- All-Access Directly from Teams – Behind-the-scenes storytelling from teams’ social and digital channels.
- Partner Content – Content produced by popular basketball and sports-highlight creators, including Turner Sports, featuring content from the hosts of “Inside the NBA”, Grant Hill and Greg Anthony, as well as FanDuel, DraftKings, Action Network, Bleacher Report and more.
- Influencers – Influencer-created content from popular creators including Thinking Basketball’s Ben Taylor, Jesser, Kris London, Lethal Shooter, Devin Williams, Tristan Jass, and more focused on fashion, lifestyle and NBA culture both on and off the court.
EXCLUSIVE ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING
- “Gold Blooded” – A new seven-episode docuseries telling the story of the Golden State Warriors’ journey to the 2022 NBA championship. Narrated by Andre Iguodala, the series features never-before-seen footage and new interviews with team executives and players, including Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The first episode is available on the NBA App today.
- “Pass the Rock” – Fans will get an exclusive look at the league’s next generation of stars and their lives on and off the court throughout the 2022-23 season. The multi-part series is slated to begin in late November.
- “Inside the App” – An exclusive weekly segment from TNT’s “Inside the NBA” team that will spotlight the hottest storylines and most topical events from around the league.
- “NBA Real Training Camp” with the Philadelphia Sixers (Sept. 29) and Dallas Mavericks (Sept. 30) – A special all-access show produced by NBA TV during the opening week of preseason providing exclusive look-ins at the teams’ practices and interviews with players, coaches and front office personnel.
- Archived Games – Fans will have access to archival footage from the NBA vault, including 500 of the best classic games in NBA history. Every NBA Finals game since 2000 will also be available, with more Finals and popular games being released throughout the season.
- Archived Series – Documentaries and all-access series from NBA Entertainment’s archives will be available on-demand, including “Dream Team”, “The Doctor”, “Wilt 100”, “The Association”, “Unscripted”, “Inside Stuff” and more.
- NBA’s International Games – The NBA App will be the go-to destination for fans to engage with and watch The NBA Japan Games 2022 Presented by Rakuten & Nissan (Golden State Warriors vs. Washington Wizards on Friday, Sept. 30 at 6 a.m. ET and Sunday, Oct. 2 at 1 a.m. ET) and The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 (Milwaukee Bucks vs. Atlanta Hawks on Thursday, Oct. 6 at noon ET and Saturday, Oct. 8 at noon ET).
- “Hoop Cities” – An eight-part, in-language docuseries produced by the NBA’s Europe and Middle East team that explores the local culture, history and basketball communities surrounding the game throughout the following European cities: Belgrade (Serbia), Bologna (Italy), Cologne & Leverkusen (Germany), Istanbul (Turkey), Kaunas (Lithuania), Paris (France), Seville (Spain) and Thessaloniki (Greece).
NBA App’s Future
The future is often right in front of us. Whether it is augmented reality, virtual reality or mixed reality, the NBA’s official app is designed to evolve with the changing technologies thanks to Turner Sports and Microsoft. Improving and customizing the delivery of live game broadcasts is what helps bring fans back for more. Creating a one-of-kind game experience makes fandom all the better. I enjoy basketball analytics and look forward to more of that in the NBA App.
Fans can already select different camera and viewing angles but doing it with a VR headset on is the new metaverse way. Picking a favorite commentator is indeed a pleasure rather than turning down the volume because you don’t want to listen to a certain voice.
Microsoft also powers the NFL instant relay on their Surface tablet, might we see something similar with NBA coaches challenges down the road.
Like CBS’s RomoVision, providing the game augmented with animations, then to do so in real-time, is awesome waiting to happen.
I am a fan of GM School and perhaps you want to be NBA General Managers are too.
First person viewership like on the vertical videos, will allow NBA app users to soon witness LeBron James perspective of a play because of jersey mounted miniature cameras, then have the option to learn how he analyzes data and what he sees in terms of offensive and defensive sets, while computing stats like who the hot shooters are, or how many fouls the opposing team stars have, all calculated in his brain in lightning, computer-like speed, as he drives to the bucket or passes to an open teammate for a pivotal score and even a game-winner.
Sports Techie, if you are looking for content covering every league game and an application that fits your lifestyle, the NBA App is your free digital ticket.
Benyarko added, “We are thrilled to deliver a reimagined product that will enhance and personalize the way NBA fans engage with the league on daily basis.”
One industry mentioned very little in the press releases yet is a large deal is sports betting, however, I am certain the NBA App will focus on developing more personalized content about bets, odds and gambling expert picks as time goes on.
I also noticed I was not included as an NBA influencer but that’s the way the ball bounces. I many not be GenZ or a millennial aged but my 9-year old son and his 5-year old brother keep me on top of those generations as does my old-school, 79-year old, Baby Boomer, Dad, so I am open to it should they ask.
I can’t wait to try NBA Strategy Stream!
See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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