Partners NBA & Microsoft Virtual Fans
|Source: Orlando NBA "Bubble"|
Tech to the Rescue of Pro Sports During COVID
What a great idea from a partnership between Microsoft and the NBA! On July 30th, when the NBA restarts its COVID-19 stopped season in the "bubble" in Orland, FL, there will be 300 fans. The fans will be "virtual fans", not physically in the arena. They will be there virtually on virtual stands by using Microsoft Teams app and visible on giant screens. The fan video and audio will be part of the NBA basketball games' broadcast. This is an innovative step of bringing fans - virtually - back into the games to provide a more normal ambiance to the pro NBA games.
Virtual Fans on Virtual Stands on Giant Screens
Microsoft and the NBA are equipping each game court with 17 foot tall screens that wrap around three sides of the venue. The fans will be sitting beside each other. That normal audience look will be accomplished by each fan using the Teams App to log in and then using a new feature called "Together mode" to simulate a group of people sitting in a room.
So, who gets to go virtually? That's being worked out by the teams to determine the selection process. The NBA and Microsoft can accommodate a maximum of 320 virtual fans per game. At the moment, it appears the home teams will have first picks but the specifics discussions are underway. The audio from the virtual fans will be broadcast in the arena and also on the television broadcasts. This is a great example of technology bringing a semblance of normalcy back to professional sports in our COVID-19 world.