Boardroom recaps some of the biggest tech announcements that came out of the NBA’s All-Star celebrations in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Coming out of NBA All-Star Weekend 2023, it’s clear the league is bullish on technology, especially across the mobile and augmented reality sectors. From the league itself to technology and Web3 companies, a number of fresh announcements of tech-focused initiatives cropped up around Salt Lake City as the game’s best and brightest showed up and showed out.
Here’s a recap of some of the biggest tech events that came out of the annual weekend.
New NBA App Features
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver led a demonstration at the annual Tech Summit of the NBA app’s new features, including new streaming services and some augmented reality integration.
The crowd filled with “wows” and “ahhs” after Silver revealed an AR-enabled scanner within the app that puts users in NBA games, literally. Users can scan their full bodies to create an avatar laid over a real NBA player within highlights and footage. Users can view themselves in the AR-enabled clips via slow motion, close-ups, and more. To test the tech, Silver put NBA 2023 Tech Summit host Ahmad Rashad into a Utah Jazz game. While Rashad’s avatar stuck out on the court, his movements were aligned with the rest of the players in the game.
Silver walked through more features in the app that let fans enhance their streaming experiences. Users can now change a game’s backdrop to a virtual location, placing them amidst the mountains, space, or in Egypt with the pyramids if they want to. In addition, it included animated scoreboard and app border graphics, enhanced camera angles, and integrated betting.
Google Pixel and the NBA relaunched the Pixel Arena inside the NBA app. Pixel Arena is a virtual space for fans who rarely get to experience the NBA in a live arena. The pair first launched Pixel Arena last April on the heels of the 2022 NBA Playoffs. The revamped virtual space now offers more personalization, shared community experiences, and a way for fans to remix classic and new NBA content.
Pixel Arena’s 3D highlight remixer lets fans recreate legendary dunks from NBA Dunk Contests and put their touch on weekly NBA highlights. Fans cans share their creations within Pixel Arena and on social channels. As for personalization, Pixel Arena expanded skin tone options and added new apparel for users to decorate their avatars.
Each avatar is fitted with a virtual Pixel 7 Pro that can help guide them through the Pixel Arena. To keep content fresh, users can roam the virtual arena whenever they’d like and tap into the latest Google Search Trends among NBA fans. Pixel Arena also offers mini-games based on NBA game stats.
NBA x Cosm Partnership
The NBA announced an expansive partnership with experiential tech company Cosm that offers basketball fans a new way to watch games. Cosm will broadcast select NBA League Pass games on large dome-like screens inside of its experience centers. Cosm has a center in Salt Lake City and will be opening up two more soon in Dallas and LA.
During All-Star Weekend, Cosm hosted a demonstration for the press, and, to say the least, this reporter was blown away. I can best describe the Cosm offering as providing a VR-like experience without wearing a headset or promoting motion sickness. Cosm’s domes can take you courtside at a game or immerse you in a musical performance as if you’re there in person.
Read more about the NBA and Cosm’s partnership here.
NBA Top Shot App
Dapper Labs partnered with the NBA and NBPA to unveil the much-anticipated NBA Top Shot mobile app. Top Shot fans can now purchase Moment NFT packs directly on the platform, which virtually mirrors the web product.
Dapper didn’t share too many details at this point. However, the company plans to expand its mobile app offerings to NFL All Day and UFC Strike users in the future.
Read more about the NBA Top Shot app launch here.
NBA ID Member Entrance Portal
The NBA built a special entrance at All-Star Weekend for NBA ID members. NBA ID is the league’s new membership program that’s focused on rewarding and recognizing fans in a multitude of ways. As members entered Vivint Arena, they were immersed in a 30-second courtside experience allowing them walk in the footsteps of past and present NBA All-Stars.
The portal was equipped with responsive LED floor tech and screens all around to engulf users in the moment. NBA All-Star players were featured in the portal at random, prompting NBA ID members to walk through the entrance multiple times to experience new memories.
The NBA is looking to offer more exclusive experiences like this to NBA ID members in the future.