Posts with «basketball» label

The NBA redesigned its app for the TikTok era

The 2022-23 NBA season is right around the corner and the league is stealing a march on opening night with a redesign of its iOS and Android app. The new version places a lot of focus on vertical videos, which fits right in with the modern age of social media.

For one thing, it rips a page right out of the TikTok playbook with a vertically scrolling For You feed, which will feature real-time highlights from ongoing games. The page will be personalized with the help of Microsoft Azure and Azure AI (Microsoft is the NBA's cloud and AI partner) and feature recommended content that's based on fan preferences.

In addition, the league has integrated its subscription services, NBA League Pass and NBA TV, into the app. It says NBA League Pass members will have access to live streams of out-of-market games with higher video quality and lower streaming latency. Subscribers will be able to watch games with alternate camera angles, check out betting-focused versions of streams and try analytics-driven options. There will be Spanish, Portuguese and Korean commentary feeds too.

Alongside the relaunch of the app, the NBA has lowered the price of League Pass subscriptions for a limited time. The standard package is currently $15 per month or $100 for the season, and $20 per month or $130 for the entire season if you opt for the premium package. The bundle includes access to NBA TV.

Elsewhere on the content front, the app will feature streams from pre- and post-game press conferences and media days, teams' pregame shows for League Pass games and a show centered about NBA culture and lifestyle. There will also be weekly shows focused on highlights and betting. International pre-season games in Japan and Abu Dhabi will stream live on the app as well.

You'll have access to several docuseries, including a seven-episode one called Gold Blooded that focuses on the Golden State Warriors’ run to the 2022 title. The first episode is on the app now. In Pass The Rock, which will debut in late November, you'll gain some insight into the NBA's hottest new stars, on and off the court. There will be archival content too, including documentaries, 500 classic games and every Finals game since 2000.

On top of all that, the league is introducing a free membership program called NBA ID, which can be linked to a NBA League Pass subscription. NBA ID will offer benefits and rewards including original content and material from the league's vault. Members will also gain access to exclusive experiences from NBA partners, ticket deals, prizes from NBA Pick’Em fantasy games and more.

NBA 2K23's Jordan Challenge revival is all about authenticity

In NBA 2K23, 2K Sports is bringing the Jordan Challenge mode from NBA 2K11 back with some serious upgrades. The publisher has revealed more details about the game mode, which features 15 key moments from Michael Jordan’s career. It includes the 1982 NCAA National Championship, the "Flu Game" and (spoiler) Jordan's game-winning shot at the 1998 NBA Finals.

Developer Visual Concepts seems to have gone all out to make the mode (which it rebuilt from scratch) as authentic as possible. “Our team took everything into consideration when constructing this game mode; the arenas, the players, the uniforms, the broadcast, and the play style of the era have been accounted for in an effort to give fans a truly authentic and unique playable Jordan experience,” Visual Concepts VP of NBA development Erick Boenisch said in a statement.

That goes right down to making sure the on-screen graphics were accurate to the era and including filters that try to replicate what it was like to watch these moments (many of which were featured in The Last Dance) on TV in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Each of the challenges has a pre-game interview with someone who was part of that moment, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson. In addition, 2K brought in analyst Mike Fratello to join the commentary team and former Chicago Bulls announcer Ray Clay to make the introductions. Of course, 2K had to make sure The Alan Parsons Project's "Sirius" was part of the soundtrack too.

Perhaps even more importantly, Visual Concepts sought to match the gameplay to how things were like in the NBA when Jordan was in his pomp. 2K says the mode puts more emphasis on the post and mid-range game and aligning transitions with how they were commonly used in the ‘80s. Certain players, such as Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, have signature play styles and moves (including Johnson's no-look passes). The action should have an extra layer of physicality, with the Detroit Pistons defense in particular trying to muscle Jordan out of taking shots.

The Jordan Challenge mode will be available on all the many versions of NBA 2K23. PC and current-gen console players will likely get the best experience, if the mode's impressive trailer is anything to judge by.

NBA 2K23's $150 Championship Edition includes a year of NBA League Pass

NBA 2K23 will arrive on September 9th, and it comes with a solid perk for those who plump for the premium $150 Championship Edition. Among other things, the package includes a year of access to NBA League Pass. If you're an avid NBA viewer who plays each year's NBA 2K game, it's actually a solid deal, given that League Pass costs $15 per month.

The Championship Edition will have limited availability and it comes with some in-game extras, including XP boosts, all the bonuses from the other versions and an exclusive Michael Jordan-themed go-kart. Speaking of Jordan, he features on the cover of another higher-end version of the game (he is the sport's most famous number 23, after all). The $100 Michael Jordan Edition comes with 100,000 Virtual Currency, as well as perks that are available in the $80 Digital Deluxe Edition.

2K Sports

All of those editions offer access to the game on both current and previous generations of PlayStation and Xbox consoles. There's also a Standard Edition of NBA 2K23, which costs $60 for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC, and $70 on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. Devin Booker is the cover star on the standard and digital deluxe versions.

Fans in the US and Canada can purchase a WNBA Edition of NBA 2K23 as well. The Gamestop exclusive version will feature Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird on the cover. And that's not all. A special version of the Standard Edition will be available this fall and it will seemingly highlight the connection between basketball culture and music. More details will be revealed later. In all, there will be six (6) editions of NBA 2K23.

2K Sports

As for what's new in the game itself, the Jordan Challenges from NBA 2K11 are returning. The 10 missions tasked players with replicating some of the most significant moments of Jordan's career, including scoring 69 points in a game. 2K Sports is rebuilding the original challenges from scratch and adding five more, including moments from Jordan's Team USA career. 2K Sports will announce more information about NBA 2K23, including the Jordan Challenges, in August.

Niantic is making an augmented reality basketball game with the NBA

Pokémon Go developer Niantic is creating a new augmented reality mobile game with more big-name partners: the NBA and its players' association. NBA All-World will task you with exploring your neighborhood to find some of the league's stars such as Chris Paul, Steph Curry and James Harden. You can challenge and compete against virtual players in mini-games like three-point contests before recruiting them to your team.

NBA All-World players will be able to deck out their NBA stars in custom apparel. Polygon notes that you can also improve your squad with items you find out in the wild at places such as sporting goods stores and convenience stores. You'll have the chance to battle others in one-on-one matches with swipe-based commands too. These encounters will be available at various locations, including real-life basketball courts.

Following Pokémon Go and Pikmin Bloom, Niantic has a few other games in the works. Transformers: Heavy Metal is in beta, but it's only available in a few countries for now. The same goes for Peridot, a modern AR take on Tamagotchi.

It's not yet clear exactly when Niantic will release NBA All-World, but the game will soon enter a soft launch period. You can sign up for updates if you're interested.

ESPN will air tonight’s Nets and Knicks game with decade-spanning classic graphics

On November 1st, 1946, the Toronto Huskies and New York Knicks played what is now considered the first game in NBA history. With the league celebrating its 75th birthday this season, ESPN hopes to take fans on a trip down memory lane.

When the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks face off today at 7:30PM ET, ESPN2 will air an alternative presentation of the game that will feature graphics from past NBA broadcasts. Fans will get to see the 1960s on ABC, the 1970s and 1980s on CBS and the 1990s on NBC represented during the game, with the graphics changing between quarters.

The broadcast will also feature music from those eras during highlights, as well as before and after commercial breaks. Last but not least, ESPN said an “impressive” list of special guests will take part in the broadcast, including a handful of Hall of Fame players. And if you’re not one for nostalgia, not to worry. You can watch the regular broadcast on ESPN.

ESPN will broadcast NBA action tonight with game-like volumetric video

TV broadcasters are trying all sorts of new tactics to spice up live coverage, including some truly wild things for sports. The NFL made games kid friendly with Nickelodeon-style slime cannons, for example. For tonight's NBA matchup between the Mavericks and Nets, ESPN is trying something with more universal appeal. The network says that for the first time ever, 3D volumetric video will be used for a live full-game broadcast. 

The project is the result of a collaboration between ESPN Edge, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED) Technology teams, the NBA and Canon. The experimental setup uses Canon's Free-Viewpoint Video (FVV) system with over 100 data capture cameras positioned around the basketball court. The result is a live sports broadcast merged with multi-dimensional footage — something that looks very much like you're watching a real-life video game. 

While ESPN says this is the first time the technology has been used for a full live production of a sporting event, it has been used before. With their “Netaverse," the Brooklyn Nets — in collaboration with the NBA, Canon and the YES Network — have used the dimensional footage for replay clips and other post-production content. The Nets are also the first team from any of the four major US pro leagues to utilize the system, first capturing game action with it in mid-January. The clips you see here are from early use of the system, but ESPN said it worked with DMED Technology to build on top of what Canon, the NBA, the Nets and YES had done, making several enhancements so it worked better for live games. The still image above doesn't really do this justice, so you really need to see the video clips, even in their early form, to get a real sense of what this looks like.

Six separate feeds are sent to ESPN's control room in Bristol, CT, essentially offering six virtual cameras that are each able to move in three dimensional space to any spot on or around the court. Each feed has a dedicated "camera" operator who controls the view. The alternate broadcast will also have its own production team, as well has dedicated commentators, piping in the natural arena audio from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. ESPN says the broadcast isn't totally reliant on volumetric video as it can integrate traditional cameras, replays and other content into the 3D environment via a rendered version of the jumbotron. 

Last April, ESPN offered an alternate Marvel-themed "Arena of Heroes" broadcast during an NBA game. While that bent more towards the cartoony aspect of video games, tonight's effort is more about showing the action with a immersive dimensional quality. The network says the experiment shows new ways emerging technology can be used to offer something beyond what we're used to seeing on TV, expanding what's possible for production in the future. 

The alternate broadcast will be available on ESPN+ and ESPNEWS when the Mavericks and Nets tip off at 7:30PM ET tonight. 

First trailer for Apple's 'They Call Me Magic' celebrates a basketball icon

Apple has shared the first trailer for They Call Me Magic, its upcoming four-part documentary on former LA Lakers superstar Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Set to debut on April 22nd, the TV+ exclusive looks to take more than a few cues from Netflix’s The Last Dance.

In fact, with interviews of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, former President Barack Obama and Johnson himself, many of the same people who took part in that documentary spoke to director Rick Famuyiwa as well. Judging by the trailer, however, fans should expect a series that is more hopeful, and that spends just as much time celebrating Johnson’s activism and family life as it does his all-star career.

March Madness Live app will let you watch two NCAA games at once on more devices

As the name implies, the NCAA's March Madness (aka the Division I men's basketball tournament) is chock full of games that may be difficult to follow — thankfully, that might not be an issue if you have the right device. The sports association, Turner and CBS Sports are expanding a feature in the NCAA March Madness Live app that lets you watch two games at once (one without audio) on more platforms. It was already available on Android TV, Apple TV and Fire TV, but should now be an option on Google TV and Xbox One. This isn't completely novel and will only help so much on the busiest match days, but you should have 20 percent lower latency and 5.1-channel surround sound.

The desktop, mobile and tablet versions of March Madness Live are limited to picture-in-picture viewing while you browse the app. The software is also available without these viewing perks on Roku players and some LG TVs. Everyone has access to an upgraded "Fast Break" feature that overlays and breaks down vital stats during games.

The new March Madness Live experience should be available on March 17th, right after the "first four" games on the 15th and 16th. You can also watch the tournament through CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV platforms, including Paramount+ if you're a subscriber. While you'd ideally have more than two streams, this is likely to be the best viewing option you'll get on a big screen during the college competition.

NBA games in 4K are coming to YouTube TV

The view from your couch will look a little more like sitting courtside in the days to come, as Streamable reports on Thursday that YouTube TV will begin offering select NBA matchups in 4K. 

The only, ahem, hoop viewers will need to get through in order to watch is having a YouTube TV subscription with the 4K Plus add-on. YTTV on its own is $65 a month, the 4K add-on will set you back an additional $12/mo for the first year before nearly doubling, up to $20/month thereafter. Not every game will be made available in the high definition format though Saturday's game between the Cavs and Thunder will.

Sinclair locks down local streaming rights for 16 NBA teams

Sinclair Broadcast Group has reached a deal to stream 16 NBA teams’ games to fans in local markets. The company, which is aiming to launch a standalone streaming service this year, previously secured local rights for some NHL and MLB teams, but the NBA deal is a major piece of the puzzle.

The agreement covers the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, LA Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs.

The service, which is expected to debut in the first half of the year, is likely to be fairly pricey at north of $20 per month, according to Sports Business Journal. However, it should give fans a way to see their local teams if games aren't broadcast nationally or they can't watch Sinclair’s Bally Sports regional sports networks (RSNs). Those networks aren't available on YouTube TV or Hulu, for instance. Local games are typically blacked out in any case, including on NBA League Pass.

Sinclair snapped up a batch of Fox Sports RSNs that Disney had to sell off as part of the Fox acquisition. The RSNs were later rebranded to Bally Sports.