But thanks to a collaborative effort from the city, the team and the arena’s management group, the Thunder will enter the 2016-17 NBA season with a new sound, a better sound. On Tuesday, team and arena executives hosted media members to preview the new sound system and dining options that will be available to fans this season. More on the food in a bit. But having covered nine seasons of NBA basketball inside the Ford Center/Peake, I mostly was interested in hearing the new sound system for myself. (You believe me, don’t you?) According to the team, the new PA system now includes state-of-the-art technology that will make it among the most customizable systems in the country.
Some may argue the NBA is the best U.S. professional sports league on social media. As the new season gets into full swing this week, the league announced it renewed and expanded its partnership with Snapchat. The extended deal will allow fans attending games to incorporate NBA-themed Bitmojis and Lenses into their Snapchat Stories. Additionally, fans at games have the option to display their Bitmoji on the arena jumbotron. With the revamped partnership, the NBA is the first professional sports league to partner with Bitmoji for custom Bitmoji packs.
Twitter emojis have not only become a trend in 2016 but an expected part of the social experience for teams and fans. Around the 2016 NBA All-Star Game in Toronto, the NBA and Twitter collaborated on 24 Twitter emojis for each player in addition to emojis for the TNT broadcast crew. It will be no different for 2016-17 as all 30 teams will have their own emoji, the league announced on Monday. While 27 of the teams internally decided on their own emojis, three franchises — the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors and Oklahoma City Thunder — allowed their fans to vote for their emoji.
The NBA doesn’t think it makes sense to give fans streaming games on a smartphone the exact same vantage point as people watching at home on a large TV screen. So for every game of the upcoming season, it’s offering a new option for NBA League Pass customers: Mobile View, a zoomed-in video feed that provides a tighter perspective of whatever’s happening on the court. Beginning tomorrow, Mobile View will appear as a third option alongside the typical home and away feeds when in League Pass. So if you don’t have any trouble following the action on your phone’s screen and prefer the traditional TV experience, you can stick with that. Mobile View is available on both phones and tablets, but not League Pass apps designed for TVs.
The NBA, the first major sports league to really embrace virtual reality, is getting even more serious about the technology for the upcoming 2016–2017 season. Today NBA Digital and its partner NextVR announced that they’ll broadcast at least one game every week during the season in VR, complete with dedicated announcers, multiple camera angles, and VR-optimized graphics. Fans will need to have a full-season NBA League Pass subscription — either purchased directly or through a cable provider — to watch games in virtual reality. VR games can be viewed using Samsung’s Gear VR and the NextVR app. The NBA says that other VR headsets will be supported later in the season. During game breaks, fans will be able to see in-venue entertainment and behind-the-scenes arena footage.
Among the hassles you deal with at sports events, waiting in line is one of the most annoying. What if you miss the start of play because you had to satisfy a hot dog craving? The Indiana Pacers want to alleviate that headache. They’re partnering with tech startup WaitTime to shorten waits through artificial intelligence. The newly-launched system takes photos of arena lines at a rate of 10 times per second, and interprets that data to gauge not just queuing times, but also order completion times and the number of people who’ve given up. The Pacers display the wait times on screens and a mobile app to show you where wait times are short — you’ll know that a given washroom is empty, or whether it’d be quicker to grab nachos instead of a burger.
LeBron James: @nba GameTime App 2016-2017 can we please fix the box score portion. It’s to challenging scrolling through it and remembering previous stats. – NBA: @KingJames Yup, we’re on it. Dev team is working on an update today.