There won't be spectators at games inside the NBA's bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, but the league announced a series of measures Friday to allow fans to take part in games virtually.
Each of the three courts at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will have video boards around them that more than 300 NBA fans each game will be able to interact on together using Microsoft's "Together Mode." The NBA says it will allow fans to feel like they are watching the game together, rather than alone at home.
Fans will also have the ability to impact the visual effects in the arenas by cheering from their couches. Fans will be able to use the NBA app, NBA.com or Twitter hashtags throughout the game, the use of which will be reflected on the video boards to capture fan engagement from around the world.
"Working with our broadcast and technology partners, we are excited to unveil a series of enhancements that will bring fans closer to the game and allow them to personalize their viewing experience," Sara Zuckert, the NBA's head of next gen telecast, said in a statement announcing the innovations. "Our goal is to create an enjoyable and immersive experience where fans can engage with each other and maintain a sense of community as we restart the season under these unique and challenging circumstances."
There will be more than 30 cameras, including robotic ones, broadcasting each game, giving viewers never-before-seen angles during gameplay. During scrimmages this week, one of them -- a "rail" cam that goes back and forth on the sideline -- has already been in use. There also are microphones around the court to pick up sounds of the game more clearly.
Fans can also watch customized viewing options via League Pass and NBA TV on the league's app as well as NBA.com. There will be alternate feeds with different camera angles, enhanced graphics, gaming options, and influencers calling games in different areas of focus, including analytics, fashion and music.
Scrimmages in Orlando started Wednesday and will continue through Tuesday. The first seeding games will take place Thursday, when the New Orleans Pelicans face the Utah Jazz in the first game from inside the bubble, with the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers playing in the second game of the night.