NBA and Microsoft plan personalized, AI-powered game streaming

Microsoft will be the ‘Official Artificial Intelligence Partner’ for the NBA, WNBA and G League.

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March 6, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) reacts toward Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
USA Today Sports / Reuters

Microsoft and the NBA are teaming up to deliver personalized game broadcasts that use machine learning and AI to learn fans’ preferences. To start, they’ll broadcast live and on-demand games via Microsoft Azure and add personalized real-time stats overlays. They’ll also explore new ways to share clips from historical video archives, reward viewers for participation and catch fans up on their favorite teams without having them search through all scores, headlines and highlights.

The multi-year deal will begin with the 2020-21 season, and it will include the NBA League Pass subscription service that features out-of-market matchups, full replays and a library of classic games. The new platform will effectively become an enhanced version of the NBA App, Variety notes. It may include new gaming elements and rewards, which could potentially be used for discounts on merchandise, tickets or exclusive content.

“Our goal, working with Microsoft, is to create customized content that allows fans — whether they are in an NBA arena or watching from anywhere around the world — to immerse themselves in all aspects of the game and engage directly with our teams and players,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

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Microsoft will also become the “Official Artificial Intelligence Partner” for the WNBA, NBA G League and USA Basketball. It will be an associate partner for future events, including NBA All-Star, MGM Resorts NBA Summer League and WNBA All-Star.

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