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NBA to use Microsoft Teams to bring fans to audience-free basketball games

/ 05:42 PM July 29, 2020
NBA

Microsoft Teams will enable NBA fans to virtually sit courtside at games. Image: Courtesy of Microsoft via AFP Relaxnews

The start of the 2019-2020 basketball season is just around the corner, but unfortunately, no fans are allowed to set foot in the stadium to watch the game because of the coronavirus risk such a gathering would pose. Instead, the NBA has partnered with Microsoft to create a digital courtside experience for fans using Microsoft Teams.

Together mode is a new tech that “uses [artificial intelligence] segmentation technology to bring people together into a shared background like a conference room, coffee shop, or arena.” It will give people the illusion of being in the stands together, therefore being to able cheer collectively.

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Players will also be able to enjoy having this digital audience, as the NBA will equip each game court with “17-foot-tall LED screens that wrap three sides of the arena” in place of fan-filled stands. 300 people will be displayed in virtual seats on these screens surrounding the game. Those not pictured will still be able to watch a live feed of the match within the Teams platform.

The organization and tech giant took inspiration from Denmark’s Aarhus Gymnastikforening soccer league, which invited 10,000 fans to watch a match via Zoom, with their digital selves placed on a virtual grandstand.

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This year’s basketball season is scheduled to kick off on July 30 in Orlando. RGA

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TOPICS: Basketball, Microsoft, NBA, United States, Video calls
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