NBA Inks Multiyear Deal With Microsoft, Will Create New AI-Powered DTC Platform on Microsoft Azure

NBA's New DTC offering will use ML and AI to deliver personalized game broadcasts

The NBA and Microsoft have unveiled a new multiyear deal in which Microsoft will become the Official Artificial Intelligence Partner and an Official Cloud and Laptop Partner for the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, and USA Basketball beginning with the 2020-21 NBA season. Microsoft and NBA Digital (co-managed by the NBA and Turner Sports) will create a new direct-to-consumer platform on Microsoft Azure that will use machine learning and AI to deliver personalized game broadcasts and other content offerings.

This DTC platform will also integrate the NBA’s various products and services from across its business. The platform will will deliver customized and localized experiences for the NBA’s global fanbase, which includes the 1.8 billion social media followers across all league, team, and player accounts.

Beyond delivering live and on-demand game broadcasts through Microsoft Azure, the NBA’s vast array of data sources and extensive historical video archive will be surfaced to fans through ML, cognitive search, and advanced data analytics solutions. This will create a more personalized fan experience that tailors the content to the preferences of the fan, rewards participation, and provides more insights and analysis than ever. Additionally, this platform will enable the NBA to uncover unique insights and add new dimensions to the game for fans, coaches, and broadcasters. The companies will also explore additional ways technology can be used to enhance the NBA’s business and game operations.

As part of the partnership, Microsoft will become the entitlement partner of the NBA Draft Combine beginning next season and an associate partner of future marquee events, including NBA All-Star, MGM Resorts NBA Summer League and WNBA All-Star.

“We are thrilled to serve as the official AI partner of the NBA,” says Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Together, we’ll bring fans closer to the game and players they love with new personalized experiences powered by Microsoft Azure.”

“This partnership with Microsoft will help us redefine the way our fans experience NBA basketball,” says Adam Silver, NBA commissioner. “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.”

For more information on Microsoft, please contact Scott Bounds at sbounds@microsoft.com.

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