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NBA Partners with Magic Leap

NBA Partners with Magic Leap

The way we watch NBA games could be about to change forever. Augmented reality startup Magic Leap have partnered with the NBA and broadcast partner Turner, the companies announced on Tuesday.

Magic Leap, who plan to release their first pair of glasses this year, will stream NBA games on their headsets.

This follows NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s comments last fall, when he said he wanted to change how people watch basketball.

While live basketball games on AR won’t happen right away, you’ll be able to watch NBA content on the glasses. People will be able to watch classic games or highlights on multiple virtual screens.

This opens up a whole new layer of interactivity for the basketball viewer. You could “pin” one screen to a wall and display live stats or social media commentary on a separate screen.

“Eventually, the game could be available streaming on your coffee table as though you were a giant looking into the arena from above,” said Jeff Marsilio, the NBA’s senior vice president of global media distribution. “Those are some ideas, those are things that we’re working towards. [They’re] not quite ready but actually more possible than you might think.”

Next Big Thing

Retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal appeared in a video promoting Magic Leap’s headset.

“When I went to Magic Leap, I watched a full court game right here,” (pointing to his right) “Lebron was right here. Then I went over here (pointing to his left) and watched Orlando play the LA Lakers.”

Due to declining TV viewing figures, major sports leagues like the NBA need to find the next big viewing medium. Augmented reality and virtual reality could be the one, or it could be a streaming service like Facebook or Amazon.

We have seen a similar issue in the English Premier League. In spite of massive investment in TV rights by Sky and BT Sport, TV viewers are declining. It is rumored that Facebook or Amazon could come in with a big money bid to stream Premier League Soccer Games.
It looks as if Adam Silver will continue to have input into this project. Getting the viewer experience right will be crucial. “Before we got involved with Magic Leap the goal was to replicate the courtside experience,” he said.

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