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NBA outreach in 2020-2021: VR, holograms

With virtual fans and hologram interviews, the NBA arguably fared the best when it came to reaching fans outside the bubble. Now, with a potential return to arenas, the league is upping its tech game for the 2020-2021 NBA season.

There’s still a lot to be determined about the 2020-2021 NBA season, including the length and the start time, but it sounds like planning is in the works for the tech push. Modern sports have evolved into studio events–99 percent of fans never set foot inside an arena or stadium–so the goal here is to enhance the experience for those fans outside the sporting facilities, standing out at a time of great change.

The whole thing is premised on 5G becoming more widespread in 2021 and beyond. Yes, the download speeds with 5G are truly amazing, and once it comes widespread, it will change how we experience all sort of media, including broadcasts of live events. The NBA, along with partners like Facebook, are drooling over the boosted bandwidth to improve quality, per CNBC:

Rob Shaw, Facebook’s head of Global Sports Media and League Partnerships, said the company would incorporate better camera lenses to improve video quality.

“If you’re going to watch a game from the front row, it has to feel like you’re watching it from the front row,” said Shaw. He used filmmaker Spike Lee’s seat at Madison Square Garden, where he watches the New York Knicks, as an example of what’s to come.

“What he must see, what he must hear, to be eye level with the best athletes in the world,” Shaw said. “That experience is something I hope is brought to the platform in three to five years – for people around the world to be able to have the same experience as Spike Lee watching a Knicks game.”

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