Amy Brooks, president, team – marketing and business operations, chief innovation officer, NBA, Paul E Jacobs, vice chairman and alternate governor, Sacramento Kings and Dinesh Paliwal, president and CEO, Harman International, spoke about how technology is changing the sporting experience at the NBA India Innovation Summit 2019. Also on the panel was the YouTuber, Bhuvan Bam.
The session was moderated by sports presenter, Anant Tyagi, who set the context for the panel discussion by talking about how the constantly evolving technology is changing the way content is being consumed.
Jacobs spoke about how 5G will change the viewing experience.
“There's a lot of hype around 5G. It’s way up there on the hype cycle right now. What 5G is going to give you is lots of data. And that information comes to you very quickly, without the latency. You need that because basketball is so fast. People are running up and down the court. As we move forward into virtual reality, people will actually be able to visualise being courtside or even on the court,” he said.
He also spoke about the impact of 5G on sports betting. “You'll be able to get the interaction so quickly that will allow people to make the bet up to the last moment. It could be about whether a player is going to pass, shoot, dribble or whatever. We also want to make sure that the fans who come in aren’t on their screens placing bets all the time so we need to have glasses and things like that in the future. So we're working towards kind of putting all this together.”
Brooks added, “Technology is everything for us. Only 1 per cent of our fans will ever come to a game. We have 1.5 billion followers overall (across all the teams) and two thirds of those come from outside the USA and Canada. We have broadcast that already allows us to reach those fans. We are now testing other models. This includes how fans can watch a game from a player’s angle too. Technology will allow us to deliver different things.”
Paliwal spoke about how the NBA should be using its whole match experience to garner eye balls in India. Responding to a question about the challenges it faces in India, he said, "India is a cricket crazy country. NBA is not only about the game of basketball. It's a spectacle. I'm hoping people take notice of it. The NBA has a lot of Bollywood characteristics to it."
Bam, who was invited by the NBA for a game last year, spoke about how NBA should be looking to the grassroots and promoting the game more in tier two and three cities.
“The passionate basketball fans are in tier two and tier three cities in India. That’s where the NBA has to go,” said Bam.