The 2022-23 NBA season kicks off on Tuesday, October 18 with a few notable technology innovations and changes across the league.
New NBA App
In collaboration with Microsoft, NBA’s newly launched NBA App offers a new hub for fan experiences. The free app consolidates the fan experience, providing live games via NBA League Pass, personalized content, mobile and social media-friendly vertical video, behind-the-scenes footage, and more.
The app uses cloud-based infrastructure to utilize AI to track user behavior and refine personalized content. For example, Microsoft Azure and Azure AI power the app’s “For You” experience which comes with content recommendations based on fan preferences and personalization. The “For You” page features a social-like vertical video experience with vertical scrolling that features real-time highlights of all NBA games in progress.
As Chris Benyarko, the Executive Vice President of NBA’s direct-to-consumer, explained, “What makes this app unique in the sports world is that it’s both a deeply personalized experience and an all-in-one destination…It allows people to immerse themselves in what’s happening with the league.”
In addition to the app, NBA launched NBA ID, a free membership program that unlocks more features and content in the app. For example, NBA ID gives users access to pre/postgame show footage, ticket promotions, prizes, and more.
PlaySight Camera Expansion
After several new teams partnered with Connexa Sports Technologies during this year’s off-season, there are now 18 NBA organizations that rely on PlaySight’s connected camera platform.
The multi-angle technology is used throughout the league for daily practice, scouting, and player development video needs. The technology can integrate with other technologies, trackers, and software, giving coaches and staff the freedom to use the videos for whatever they may need.
PlaySight’s innovative technology enables teams to be more efficient in practice. For Matt Reynolds, the Boston Celtics Special Assistant to the Head Coach, PlaySight frees up the staff’s manpower. As he described, “Prior to using PlaySight, we needed to dedicate a video coordinator to operate a handheld camera throughout practice…Having that extra manpower has allowed our video coordinators to be more active participants in drills on the court.”
ESPN’s Tech-Forward Brand Identity
For the 2022-23 NBA season, ESPN is unveiling a new, global creative brand identity for the league. Developed by the ESPN Creative Studio, the NBA’s revitalized brand identity showcases future-forward animation and editorial look and sound. For example, instead of the league’s standard “logoman” that is stagnant, the logo will be animated on screen with dynamic cross-over dribbles and no-look passes to replicate the energy of the game.
According to ESPN’s website, “From the iridescent chrome brush strokes that are painted across the entire design campaign to the slick animations, the overall look pays homage to the swagger and personality of the NBA.” As Carrie Brzezinski-Hsu, the Vice President of ESPN Creative Studio, explained, “We take sports from game to experience. It takes a dynamic collective of creative capabilities and storytellers to make fans feel like they are part of the game.”
The new creative brand identity, animation, and music debuted on October 13 in the NBA preseason game. Throughout the season, the new branding and augmented reality enhancements will be showcased across ESPN’s Primetime and Playoff programming, leading to ABC’s showcase of The NBA Finals.
As one of the five companies chosen to participate in NBA Launchpad this year, BetterGuard is providing high-tech protective ankle braces and shoes with built-in ankle support. The technology works almost like a seat belt, allowing full freedom of movement until it needs to lock in place and prevent a roll. The BetterGuard can be incorporated into a brace or built directly into a shoe.
As noted on the BetterGuard website, more than 200 million ankle injuries globally every year, and 70 percent of those result in residual disabilities or chronic instabilities. Furthermore, 25 percent of all sports-related injuries affect the ankle.
BetterGuard presented its technology at the NBA Summer League with sponsorship from Former NBA guard Daniel “Booby” Gibson. Gibson retired at age 27 because of his persistent ankle injuries. As Gibson said at the NBA Summer League, “There’s not a single doubt in my mind (it would have lengthened my career).”
Fast Break Rule Change
The NBA Board of Governors today approved a change to the playing rules that will impose a heightened penalty when a defensive player commits a “transition take foul”and approved the adoption of the NBA Play-In Tournament on a full-time basis. pic.twitter.com/zeEDP4JEp5
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) July 13, 2022
New for the 2022-23 NBA season, referees will now impose a heightened penalty when a defensive player commits a transition take foul. When a take foul occurs, the offensive team will now be awarded one free throw by any player on the court and retain possession of the ball. Previously, a take foul resulted in a simple side-out.
This rule will limit intentional fouls meant to stop the opposing team from taking a fast break.
While not a technology innovation, this rule change for the upcoming NBA season marks league officials listening to the fans. NBA fans have been pushing for this rule change for a while because fast breaks often result in some of basketball’s most exciting plays. The new rules will help encourage a more fast-paced transition offense.
For more of the latest news, check out House of the Dragon’s virtual production technology, how digital twins are used in nuclear energy, the nation’s first nuclear-power clean hydrogen production plant, and United Airlines’ electric planes plan.