Microsoft teams up with NBA to create virtual fans

Virtual fans will be seen on the NBA arena   | Photo Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft partnered with The National Basketball Association, an American men’s professional basketball league to put virtual fans on the stands of the NBA arena during each game of the upcoming season.

“Today, in partnership with the NBA, we are excited to announce a reimagined fan experience powered by a new feature in Microsoft Teams called Together mode,” Jared Spataro, VP, Microsoft 365 said in a statement.

More than 300 virtual fans will appear live on the 17-foot-tall LED screens fixed on three sides of the arena during the NBA games starting July 30. These fans will be viewing the games using the Together mode in Teams.

They can also virtually interact with each other throughout the game. Teams’ Together mode will create a virtual experience by removing fans from their individual backgrounds and bring them together in a shared visual space seen throughout the broadcast.

Together mode uses AI segmentation technology to bring people together into a shared background like a conference room, coffee shop, or arena.

Microsoft said that this new experience, the first to go live, will make the participating fans feel like sitting next to one another at a live game without even leaving the comfort of their homes. Players will experience the energy, real-time reactions and support of the fans, as they dribble down the court. Viewers will also feel the crowd’s energy in the virtual stands filled with fans.

“This unique live game experience will allow fans to maintain a sense of community as they watch their favourite teams and players,” Sara Zuckert, Head of Next Gen Telecast, NBA, said in a statement.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 12:52:21 AM |

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