NBA broadcasts game with smartphones and invests in mobile training aid
In a first for the NBA, yesterday’s Summer League game between the Atlanta Hawks and the Washington Wizards was shot exclusively on smartphones.
The game at the Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas, which the Wizards won 76-71, was shot by six Samsung phones with the LiveU Smart mobile app and distributed via telecoms giant AT&T’s 5G video infrastructure.
It included interactions with spectators, interviews, views from courtside, a customised graphics package and other in-arena elements.
The Smartphone broadcast was carried on the ESPN App, International NBA League Pass and NBA TV Canada.
Speaking ahead of Thursday’s game, Steve Hellmuth, executive vice-president, media operations and technology, NBA Entertainment, said: “After a successful dress rehearsal early last night, we are a full go for the Smartphone View alternate broadcast tonight.
“We believe this will be the first live major sports production ever shot exclusively on smartphones to be distributed widely to fans.”
The NBA often uses the Summer League to trial new innovations, and Hellmuth said: “The plan is to deliver fans a unique broadcast experience using the same cameras they use every day to capture special moments in their lives.”
Meanwhile, in another telecoms development, the NBA has formed a strategic partnership with and taken an equity stake in Nex Team, a mobile artificial intelligence company that specialises in training aids.
The tie-up will entail the use of HomeCourt, the company’s mobile basket training application, to help players at all levels, with the technology to be integrated in the NBA’s youth basketball development initiatives around the world.
HomeCourt was launched in July 2018 and combines training concepts with advanced artificial intelligence to provide real-time analytics for players, including shot accuracy, progress over time and key performance metrics such as speed, vertical jump, release time and ball handling.
David Lee, the co-founder and chief executive of Nex Team, said: “We are incredibly proud to be partnering with the NBA to bring the HomeCourt experience to a global basketball audience. Together, we look forward to designing innovative experiences that bring together the digital and physical worlds that will build community and engage basketball players at every level, everywhere.”