NBA Partners with Microsoft to Put Fans in the Stands

Posted on July 25, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft 365 with 9 Comments

The NBA is set to restart its 2019-2020 basketball season this week, and it will use Microsoft Teams to put virtual fans in the stands.

“The 2019-2020 [NBA] season is set to restart on July 30th in Orlando, without any fans in attendance,” Microsoft corporate vice president Jared Spataro announced. “Realizing it needed to reimagine a way to connect fans and players virtually, the NBA turned to Microsoft Teams.”

The NBA and Microsoft announced their partnership in April, explaining at the time that they would collaborate on next-generation experiences for basketball fans that include “a new fan engagement platform offering personalized, live, and on-demand game broadcasts; historical video archives; and unique insights and analysis for NBA fans, coaches, and broadcasters.” But this week’s announcement provides a first concrete look at one way in which Microsoft can help the sport.

Thanks to Microsoft Teams’ Together mode feature, the NBA will simulate crowds of attendees at the coming NBA games. But the fans won’t be placed digitally into the stands as Fox Sports is doing with its MLB baseball broadcasts. Instead, the NBA is placing 17-foot-tall LED screens on three sides of the arena that will be digitally populated with over 300 cheering fans who will join the game using Together mode in Teams. Alongside a view of their fellow fans, participants can watch a live feed of the game right within Teams, Microsoft notes.

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Comments (10)

10 responses to “NBA Partners with Microsoft to Put Fans in the Stands”

  1. harrymyhre

    that is so cool! But meanwhile, the control panel in Microsoft Windows still has remnants of Windows 95

    • karlinhigh

      In reply to Harrymyhre: remnants of Windows 95

      And often (but to be fair, not always) those Windows 95 remnants are the only parts that let me do everything possible, while the "modern" parts are much less capable. Examples include configuring fine details of printers or networks.

  2. jumpingjackflash5

    Maybe Microsoft wants to be online services company. If that is true they should open-source Windows or sell it to someone else who will care about desktop computing, performance, reliability and users who like to control their computers .....

  3. Daekar

    I think this is pretty cool. If they can keep the quality of the images up, it might do nicely.


    I hope they don't forget speakers to pipe in sound as appropriate.

  4. chrisltd

    It looks considerably worse on TV than it does in these still photos

  5. markbyrn

    I think I prefer the CGI fans, cardboard fans, and fake crowd noise. Better yet, listen to the games on radio.

  6. red.radar

    Your not getting a better view of the game ... don’t see why anyone would do this other than a new twist on “look ma I am on tv”.


    seems like a well funded ad campaign

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