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Volume 27 No. 28
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Inside The NBA's Creative Broadcast Strategy From Orlando Bubble

NBA Head of Next Gen Telecast Sara Zuckert said the league saw its Orlando restart as a “new opportunity to test different camera angles and other ways to bring fans closer to the game that wouldn’t otherwise be possible with fans in the arena.” Speaking yesterday during a panel at SBJ’s virtual Intersport Brand Innovation Summit, Zuckert said the NBA tried to replicate the arena experience by installing a courtside camera as well as a rail cam. She noted the NBA “really focused on how we could have fans interact with the arena and with the players,” which led them to partner with Anheuser-Busch on the Michelob Ultra Courtside sweepstakes to give fans an “opportunity to be present in the arena and on the telecast.” Anheuser-Busch VP/Connections Azania Andrews said the Michelob Ultra brand thought Courtside “presented this perfect opportunity to both be a part of working with the NBA and with Microsoft to bring something powerful to fans and to the league, and then also to give our product a role in the story.” She added the consumer response has been “fantastic and been an incredible way for us as a brand to engage with fans and engage with our team partners.”

Quick Hits:

*NBA VP/Live Production & Entertainment Carlton Myers, on the broadcasting approach from the bubble: “My first focus was on the players and their experience. We wanted to give them the most authentic experience as possible to make them comfortable so that they could ... play to the degree that they're used to and really perform. We knew that if the players had the ability to perform at the highest level, that that would translate perfectly to the broadcast.”

*NBA VP/Global Partnerships Ed Winkle, on lessons learned by the league by having to adapt to a made-for-TV production: “It opened up opportunities for a lot of our marketing partners, from branding opportunities, from integration. … The teams all had a need to have their partners show up as well. So a lot of the games, you would see the virtual signage on the court. … And then an hour later, two new teams were on that court and you saw different branding. So, the technology really allowed us to be really, really flexible.”

*Winkle, on the NBA Together initiative that was launched during the pandemic: "We had a lot of players involved in doing home workouts for fans and just trying to stay engaged with our fans. … We were all excited to watch NBA players and legends play horse in their backyards. We just did that to feed the fans ... some (content). We worked with ESPN to really bring forward The Last Dance documentary.”