Courtside seats at a Lakers game used to be such a prestigious thing. But 2020 is a different NBA fan experience thanks to the pandemic, and it doesn’t look like Jack Nicholson made it into a test of video technology at a recent practice.
As part of its partnership with Microsoft, the NBA is ringing the court with 17-foot video boards to allow a select number of fans to experience upcoming games via Microsoft Teams “Together” mode.
A clip of the video collaboration software being put to the test showed up on Twitter over the weekend as Lakers players participated in a shoot-around.
Digital fans are here. 👋🏼 👋🏼 pic.twitter.com/9Uv4XfpKU0
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) July 25, 2020
The tech is intended to give participating fans “the feeling of sitting next to one another at a live game without leaving the comfort and safety of their homes, while players experience their energy and support in-venue,” according to a news release last week.
Digitally cut out fans appear as if they’re on the same background. They’re seen waving frantically on the giant screens and at first glance it all just seems rather distracting. Perhaps Microsoft will have the ability to make all participants the same size and hand waving won’t be cut off.
The cut-off hand-waving and differences in head sizes makes it all look extra fake.
If everyone sat at normalized distances and made sure their heads didn't get cut off, with no waving, things would have looked much more realistic.
Pretty cool first iteration though.
— Artem Russakovskii (@ArtemR) July 26, 2020
lol, this is both awesome and terrible at the same time
— incendy (@incendy) July 25, 2020
Want to play with your beard or gnaw on a sandwich on national tv?! 😄
Register now to be in the Pelicans sections for the NBA Virtual fan experience during the seeding games! 🏀
This will fill up fast.
Register here:https://t.co/JfEcct6sgq #WontBowDown pic.twitter.com/5tOAQUcnIS
— Tracy Almeda-Singian (@TracySingian) July 26, 2020
They should hire these guys.https://t.co/QwZo5YndYB
— Armand Salmon (@armandsalmon) July 26, 2020
NBA teams are scrimmaging now in Orlando, Fla., before the restart of the season on Thursday. The screens are visible (without Microsoft-included fans) in other videos, including some shot with a “railcam” that runs along the court for a unique viewing angle.
🎥🔥 Check out the BEST of the railcam buckets and moments from scrimmages in Orlando thus far! #WholeNewGame
The NBA Restart tips off Thursday!pic.twitter.com/L5qQQAVusW
— NBA (@NBA) July 27, 2020