The NBA’s Technology Focused Sponsorships
As another NBA Finals kicks off, many fans have enjoyed a season full of surprises and great basketball. For those who tuned into watching the NBA playoff games, many would not have missed the main sponsors on the home court of the games: Google, Meta and Microsoft. The tech giants have built a large market share within the technology sector and have tied their marketing affiliations with the NBA. Diving more into the meaning of these sponsorship deals, we find the heavy push the NBA is making with advancements for the future of the game.
NBA courts with each of the Tech Sponsorships
NBA x Meta
The NBA recently made its way into the Metaverse with a futuristic concept known as “NBA Lane”, which allows fans to take part in the NBA’s virtual reality concept. The newly introduced technological concept can be found on the Meta Quest 2 headset. The large growth in Meta’s partnership with the NBA is to help promote the future of sports through virtual reality. The virtual reality concept allows fans to: engage in a free throw shootout with friends, low-gravity dunk contest, and watching NBA content. The Metaverse partnership is bringing to life a whole new layer to the sports world and allowing fans to start a new wave of interaction with their favorite teams and players.
NBA x Google
Google and the NBA recently inked a deal that would make the Google Pixel the NBA’s official fan phone and sponsor. The Google Pixel currently serves as the official sponsor of the 2022 NBA Playoffs. Thus, the NBA is planning to grow with Google in order to better integrate data analytics and statistics. On April 16th, Google introduced the Google Pixel Arena which is a 3D environment within the NBA app. This new feature will allow fans to better engage with the NBA playoffs through: creating avatars, half time and post game interactions, and provide informative statistics and information on the gameplay. Google is also currently in a deal with its platform YouTube TV and the NBA as one of the primary sponsors for the NBA Finals. The earlier push for online streaming of live games was introduced during the 2018 NBA Finals and is a well-suited partner in the heavy streaming content world that has emerged since.
NBA x Microsoft
In 2020, the NBA and Microsoft formed a multi year deal that would make Microsoft the Official Technology Partner, Official Artificial Intelligence Partner, and Official Cloud and Laptop Partner of the NBA. Microsoft’s deal is also associated with the WNBA, NBA G League, and USA basketball. Adam Silver, NBA commissioner stated: “our goal, working with Microsoft, is to create customized content that allows fans — whether they are in an NBA arena or watching from anywhere around the world — to immerse themselves in all aspects of the game and engage directly with our teams and players.” The NBA plans to use Microsoft’s Azure AI technology to use an immense amount of statistical data and metrics about players and games to grow new ways of fan engagement. The Azure technology has led to the emergence of the NBA Court Optix tool which allows for the access to never before used insights and data points on how teams and players are passing, shooting, and playing the game. This technology has also been useful in personalizing fan experiences more efficiently and further establishing a futuristic level within sports analytics.
The advancements and endorsements the NBA has made with Meta, Google and Microsoft will serve to push the future of sports to the present. The NBA is creating a technology based community to better the interactions of the many NBA fans who seek to engage more with the game. The introduction of NBA Lane, the Google Pixel Arena, NBA Court Optix are efficient at creating a more established virtual community that can serve the interest of fans globally for the NBA. These advancements within sports are the key to growing new users, fan interaction, and more established communities of fans. The raise in awareness during the 2022 Playoffs of the newly launched collaborative products will further establish the NBA as a technology front-runner within the sports industry. Technology businesses are growing product results and solutions with a heavier focus on sports partners. These long lasting technology partnerships being formed with a league like the NBA are paving the way for the growth in tech partnerships and sponsors.
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