NBA app releases new version with Microsoft with new features

The NBA released a new version of its league app on Tuesday that includes the launch of NBA ID, a free membership program allowing fans to gain exclusive access to game ticket giveaways, merchandise, content and other advantages. The reimagined global app was developed with Microsoft, which uses AI and machine learning to recommend personalized content to fans.

NBA ID benefits will be regionalized based on a fan’s location and linked to benefits from other NBA products such as its League Pass game subscription service and the Pick ‘Em fantasy game. League Pass officially operated as a standalone app, but will now merge with the NBA app. The price for a standard-tier League Pass subscription is now $99 per year, up from $230 last season. The NBA hopes its price cut will help attract younger subscribers to mobile phones, smart TVs and other connected devices.

League Pass will now merge with the NBA app, and the subscription price has been reduced from $230 to $99.

“We want to make sure NBA ID members have the ability to influence what happens in the league,” says Chris Benyarko, EVP of direct-to-consumer for the NBA. “Voting will also be another major part of this. Fans will vote on different things [such as] jerseys, courts, awards. I think we’ll make more announcements on this vote-based element when we get to All-Star voting.

The app includes a new personalized For You feed that aesthetically mirrors the experience of viewing “Stories” on Instagram and other social media platforms. Fans can tap their phone screen to view vertical video clips of the best games from their favorite teams or players. Most video clips are on average 10 seconds long. Vertical videos accounted for about 30% of video views on NBA social digital platforms last year, but that number skyrocketed to 70% during this summer’s NBA Finals – a trend the league attributes to popularity explosive from TikTok, where vertical video is the norm. format.

The app will feature live streams of all NBA pregame and postgame press conferences, as well as original content.

The app will feature live streams of all NBA pregame and postgame press conferences, as well as original content.

“I think the amount of displaying our content in a vertical format was definitely not the idea in 2020,” Benyarko says, noting that the NBA first announced its deal in April 2020 to make Microsoft the league’s official cloud partner.

Other NBA app content will include live streams of all NBA pre-game and post-game press conferences and a new weekly show called CrunchTime that takes fans through crucial game moments. live, such as when the score of a match is nearing the end on its betting line. The app will offer 1,200 hours of on-demand content, double what it had last year, including a new seven-episode docuseries about the Golden State Warriors 2021-22 championship season recounted. by Andre Iguodala.

We want to make sure NBA ID members have the opportunity to influence what happens in the league. Voting will also be another major part of this. Fans will vote on different things [such as] jerseys, courts, awards. I think we’ll make more announcements on this vote-based element when we get to All-Star voting.

Highlights in the NBA app are produced in real time from in-progress games using computer vision cropping from WSC Sports, which has worked with the NBA for several years. The NBA used AI and machine learning from Microsoft Azure to create the app’s For You feed, which recommends content based on a user’s geographic location and viewing history.

“A lot of our work has been figuring out how to use technologies like AI, machine learning, predictive analytics, and reinforcement learning to determine, for example, whether we’re going to tell the user : ‘Hey, we have content for you,’ – how do we time it perfectly? says Mike Downey, product director of customer innovation at Microsoft. “How do we show them the clip they’re most likely to want to watch? This is where all the magic lies. The more you bombard them with things they don’t want, you’re actually working against your own interests and making them less likely to want to watch content.

Live streams in the NBA app are available in multiple languages.

Live streams in the NBA app are available in multiple languages.

Microsoft’s back-end cloud computing will also reduce the latency of live games on League Pass to half of what it was last season, at a speed the NBA says will now be on par with linear regional broadcasts. regular. Downey says the NBA started talking to Microsoft and its competitors about the cloud about nine months before announcing the deal with Microsoft in April 2020, three months before the NBA resumed its Covid-suspended season in July at the Bubble without fans in Orlando.

“We would normally kick off this project by being in a room together for months, doing a lot of in-person work on location,” says Downey. “We pretty much did the whole project remotely, it was a challenge. Unintentionally, I think that really helped with the nature of what we were building,” adding, “As a sports fan, we often think about get together in person to experience a sport – whether it’s at the bar, at the game or at home with your friends or family coming in. We had to think hard, what does a world look like where we all are away from each other, how can we experience sport with our friends from a distance?”

Several gaming elements are present in the new NBA app, including the return of the weekly NBA Betstream produced by NBA TV which shares live game betting information, in addition to betting-focused game streams on League Pass. . Partners such as FanDuel, DraftKings, Action Network and Bleacher Report will also share content in the NBA app.

A lot of our work has been figuring out how to use technologies like AI, machine learning, predictive analytics, and reinforcement learning to determine, for example, whether we’re going to tell the user ” Hey, we have content for you,’ — how do we time it perfectly?

How do you show them the clip they’re most likely to want to watch? This is where all the magic lies. The more you bombard them with things they don’t want, you’re actually working against your own interests and making them less likely to want to watch content.

“We will have the ability for people to take things that they might have defined in terms of favorites or games that they want to follow and possibly have those integrations with [DraftKings or FanDuel], we will not take real bets through our experience directly in the app,” says Benyarko. “Some of the toggles that we’re going to do will be to allow users not just on the app but also on the website, if they want to see more and less and things like that, they can turn it on. So that’s an opt-in.”

However, the new weekly CrunchTime show hosted by Jared Greenberg will have in-game and in-game layout features and discussions that will be universal for all US-based app users.

“We think there are obviously things the league should stay away from in this area. All gaming content on our platforms will be provided by partners,” said Andrew Yaffe, NBA senior vice president of social, digital and original content. “We will have a separate international version which will not have as many gameplay features and will be in the international League Pass.”

About Stuart M. McFarland

Check Also

The patient app helps make decisions about anticoagulants: ENHANCE-AF

The use of a new “shared decision-making tool” resulted in a higher rate of patient …