NBA releases new Azure-powered app to personalise fan experience

NBA releases new Azure-powered app to personalise fan experience


The platform uses AI and machine learning to track insights and stream enhanced services

Alice Chambers |

NBA has launched NBA App, an integrated digital platform built in partnership with Microsoft, to provide a personalised experience for fans.

The new app is driven by data and uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities within Microsoft Azure to provide a personalised experience for users on a global scale by providing customised content.

NBA will track fan insights and incorporate data about the game within the app, as well as historical data from over the decades of NBA play, so that guests are presented with games and content that they have been interested in in the past.

“What makes this app unique in the sports world is that it’s both a deeply personalised experience and an all-in-one destination,” said Chris Benyarko, executive vice president of direct to consumer at NBA. “We think this platform makes it easy to be an NBA fan. It allows people to immerse themselves in what’s happening with the league. And there is much more to come.”

There are more than 2.1 billion people in the NBA’s global social media community, including those with league, team and player accounts. The NBA App will help to connect these users through sport.

“The ability of Azure to receive very high-quality feeds is paramount for us as stewards of the game and the fan experience,” said Ken DeGennaro, senior vice president of media operations and technology at NBA. “Microsoft has a cloud tailor made and ready to deliver these streaming services. Those fundamentals are things that have been enabled via Azure and its partner network for the NBA to deliver the best experience to fans.

“Combining data from the game with insights from fans will allow us to build engaging content and deliver experiences you can’t get anywhere else. It also allows the system itself to continually learn about basketball and improve over time.”

NBA will also consider using augmented reality, virtual reality and other technologies to continually evolve and improve its app. Its aim is to provide a truly personalised experience that will give fans different viewing angles, different commentators or offer animations of the game in real time.

“We like to experiment with everything, and we feel like we have a good foundation to do that,” said DeGennaro. “We’ve always thought of this launch as day zero. Beyond the things that we’re launching now, we have more than a few things in the lab. In order for that to be possible, the underlying technology platform needs to exist, and that is Azure, that’s Microsoft.”

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