Microsoft and NBA sign alliance to give fans a new experience

indica News Bureau-


Announcing a multi-year alliance, software giant Microsoft and the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Thursday aimed to redefine and personalize the fan experience. With a global fan base across 215 countries and territories and telecast in over 47 languages, NBA wishes to cater to its fans all over the world to enhance their experience of watching the game.

As part of this collaboration, Microsoft will become the official Artificial Intelligence Partner and an Official Cloud and LaptopmPartner for the NBA, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), NBA G League, and USA Basketball beginning with the 2020-21 NBA season, reported CNBC.

The NBA will use Microsoft’s Azure public cloud that will use machine learning and artificial intelligence to deliver next-generation, personalized game broadcasts and other content offerings as well as integrate the NBA’s and use its Surface devices, along with various other products and services from across its business.

“We are thrilled to serve as the official AI partner of the NBA. Together, we’ll bring fans closer to the game and players they love with new personalized experiences powered by Microsoft Azure,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

The deal comes as the NBA is on hiatus — the league suspended the current season on March 11 to limit coronavirus exposure, and other sports leagues have made similar moves. Given that teams could be holding games without crowds for some time, he said, it’s even more important that the league’s engineers start assembling the new system.

“I think the fact that we are announcing it in the middle of this pandemic is a testament to how important it is that we move forward with this deal,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told CNBC in an interview on Wednesday. “Time is of the essence here.”

The platform will customize and localize the experience for NBA fans across the globe and give fans something unprecedented to look forward to.  The platform will cater to around 1.8 billion NBA fans and followers of the league and players on social media.

“This partnership with Microsoft will help us redefine the way our fans experience NBA basketball,” said Adam Silver, NBA commissioner.

Beyond delivering live and on-demand game broadcasts through Microsoft Azure, the NBA’s vast array of data sources and the extensive historical video archive will be surfaced to fans through state-of-the-art
machine learning, cognitive search, and advanced data analytics solutions, Microsoft said in a statement.

“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,” Silver added.

The new platform will also enable the basketball league to uncover unique insights and add new dimensions to the game for fans, coaches and broadcasters. The companies will also explore additional ways technology can be used to enhance the NBA’s business and game operations.

As part of the partnership, Microsoft will become the entitlement partner of the NBA Draft Combine beginning next season and an associate partner of future marquee events, including NBA All-Star,
MGM Resorts NBA Summer League and WNBA All-Star.