Now that MLB has finally begun to play ball without fans, the NBA is gearing up to restart its season with 22 out of teams qualifying to play in isolation in Orlando and advance to the playoffs.
While baseball teams are piping in crowd noise from MLB The Show and propping up cardboard cutouts of fans, the NBA is going for a more immersive and interactive approach that brings fans closer to the game experience.
Here's how you can show your appreciation for your teams from your couch.
Through the NBA app, you can cheer for your team during the game with a tap of a button. Just install the app and tap the More (three dots) button to the far right of the bottom navigation bar, then hit "Tap to Cheer." Here, you'll find a list of the available games to cheer for, with buttons to tap and root along virtually. Cheering will be represented by graphics and visual effects on video boards at the court in Orlando.
In addition, NBA League Pass and NBA TV subscribers will have access to "alternate feeds with new camera angles, enhanced graphics, gaming options, in-language and influencers calling the game with a focus on areas such as analytics, fashion, and music," according to the league's news release.
Alternately, you can also post to Twitter with team hashtags, with a similar impact to using the NBA app. Check your team's official Twitter account for the official hashtag (complete with team logo emoji). Examples are shown below.
Perhaps to the chagrin of security officials within the US government, fans can participate in challenges on TikTok, with selected content to be displayed on screens at the arena. It's like a remote replacement for the Kiss Cam!
In addition, an augmented reality Lens on Snapchat uses the platform's ground transformation technology to project a virtual version of the court in Orlando into your personal space.
The Lens is available on July 30, just in time for the season restart, in the Lens Carousel. So tap the smiley face icon on the camera screen and look for the NBA logo. You'll need ample space, as the virtual court renders to real-world scale. Once the court is visible, you can look around to see the stands, the goal, and Black Lives Matter emblazoned on the court. Tap the screen and a basketball autonomously bounces down the court on its own and into the goal.
Since this is a Sponsored Lens, its availability will likely be limited. However, there's another Lens available for the front-facing camera in the Lens Explorer. While still in the Lens Explorer, tap the Explore icon and search for NBA. Or, you can scan the Snapcode below or follow this link to access it.
This Lens projects a virtual jersey and hat on to your person. It starts with a general NBA restart outfit, but you can scroll through the teams to display your favorite kit.
With either Lens, tap the shutter button to capture a photo or hold it down to grab a video, and then you can share it within Snapchat or save it to your camera roll to share through other apps.
Perhaps one of the coolest options is also the least accessible. NBA sponsor Michelob Ultra is inviting 300 fans a game to remote viewing sessions through Microsoft Teams, with the participants projected onto a 17-foot video board at the arena using the platform's Together mode.
If you want to take your shot, visit the contest site on July 30 to enter. If you get in the virtual bubble, then you'll want to get the Microsoft Teams app to participate.
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