NBA Debuts Cell Phone-Only Broadcast Of Summer League Game
Cell phone video footage from @NBASummerLeague Wizards-Hawks game being broadcast by only 6 cellphones via @ATT 5G network and @ericsson antennas installed in @ThomasAndMack roof:https://t.co/BYYsDQl1Ab— LVSportsBiz.com (@LVSportsBiz) July 11, 2019
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The NBA exclusively used cell phones to broadcast Thursday's Hawks-Wizards Summer League game in Las Vegas, marking the "first NBA smartphone-only telecast," according to Alan Snel of LVSPORTSBIZ.com. The NBA used six S10 Samsung cell phones and the AT&T 5G video network to "send the footage to a production truck sitting outside of Thomas & Mack Center." Trail Blazers Dir of Broadcast & Content Jeff Curtin directed the cell phone broadcast, having previously "scouted Thomas & Mack for the best phone locations." Two workers were "stationed with cellphones just outside the corners of the court and another two at the baseline." Curtin said that he "used all six of the cellphone camera feeds because the 'ball is flying all around the court.'" The NBA “Smartphone View” included "courtside views, customized graphics, interviews, in-arena elements and fan interaction." NBA Exec VP/Operations & Technology Steve Hellmuth said that the broadcast strategy was to "give the TV fan a courtside seat to an NBA game." No traditional TV broadcast cameras were used for the game (LVSPORTSBIZ.com, 7/11).
MAKING IT WORK: In Boston, Chad Finn notes NBC Sports Boston has been using Kyle Draper, Chris Forsberg, and Brian Scalabrine as the Celtics broadcast team on its Summer League telecasts, but they are "not on-site in Las Vegas." Instead, they are "doing it live from the studio" in Burlington, Mass. Finn: "I usually don’t like this approach, but it works well here." Draper provides the "basics of play-by-play, but the broadcast is much more casual, and the conversation feels authentic and genuine, like what they’d be saying if the cameras were off." This approach would "not work for games that are actually meaningful, but it’s terrific for Summer League, and NBC Sports Boston has the right trio doing it" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/12).