Live From NBA All-Star 2023: NBA Strikes Deal With Cosm To Offer Games in ‘Shared Reality’ 8K at Forthcoming Cosm Venues

Cosm is slated to open venues in Los Angeles and Dallas in 2024

On Thursday, the NBA announced a multi-year partnership with the immersive media company Cosm to offer select live games in 8K at Cosm’s forthcoming venues beginning as soon as 2024.

The NBA is the first sports league to strike a partnership with the emerging tech company to offer live game content in what Cosm calls “Shared Reality.” The experience offers an 8K projection on a large-scale LED-dome system and marries it with a “stadium-like atmosphere,” which will include a live audience, food and beverages, and even merchandise.

A rendering from Cosm’s website shows plans for the company’s first live venue in Los Angeles, which is set to open in 2024. The company expects to open six more venues across the country, with intentions for a venue to open in Dallas in 2024 already established. (Courtesy Cosm/NBA)

“It’s a big day for us,” Cosm’s President and CEO Jeb Terry said in an interview with SVG. “The NBA is, of course, always known for their innovation, their tech-forward approach, and their approach to partnership. That was key for us to establish as we start to showcase to the world what we’re doing around the live in-game product and that compliment to what’s going on in-venue.”

To offer this – and many other live content experiences – Cosm currently has plans to build seven venues across the country. The company recently broke ground on its first venue in Los Angeles, which will be positioned at Hollywood Park near SoFi Stadium. They have also announced plans for a second venue in Dallas. Cosm’s site teases five more venues to be announced over the next couple of years.

On a to-be-determined package of live games, Cosm will produce and present live NBA games in these immersive “Shared Reality” theaters. Members of the league’s new NBA ID membership program will also be offered benefits like ticket discounts, merchandise, and exclusive access to live events.

“The pinnacle of being an NBA fan is getting into the arena; seeing and sharing that experience with those around them,” Teddy Kaplan, Associate Vice President, New Media Partner Management Lead at the NBA said to SVG. “You keep going back. For 99% of our fans who don’t get to go a live NBA game, this is for them. This is bringing that live excitement of the game to fans in a shared space.”

The NBA and Cosm are running experiments during this weekend’s NBA All-Star festivities in Salt Lake City, Utah, which is where Cosm’s research and development facility is also located. The league will be hosting private events at that center throughout the weekend to demo some of the work being done.

On the production and operations end of the business, Cosm has been beefing up its technology portfolio over recent years, acquiring C360 in January 2023 and LiveLive VR in 2020, just to name a few. The company, which is backed by Mirasol Capital and billionaire Stephen Winn, will place a select number of unmanned 8K cameras in the venue during a live game. Those feeds will be fed directly to Cosm’s production center in Salt Lake City (which means no production truck needed at the arena) and stitched together in Cosm’s CX Engine, a suite of immersive software applications that producing immersive events and project the image onto the venue’s dome.

This isn’t Cosm’s first foray into live sports. The company worked with Olympic Broadcasting Services during the Beijing Olympics to produce the first-ever fully produced live 8K VR video broadcast. Cosm co-authored a Tech Paper at IBC2022 that dissected the project. Additionally, Sports Business Journal profiled a Cosm experience following a Watch Party that the company held during the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

The NBA is also, of course, no stranger to leading the way in alternate viewing experiences. NBA League Pass, the league’s out-of-market, direct-to-consumer streaming service offers streams complimentary to the live game like NBA Betsream (sports betting-focus coverage) and CrunchTime (a weekly whiparound show peeking into multiple games in a night). Additionally, more than 50 NBA and WNBA games are available in virtual reality this year in Meta Quest’s XTADIUM. Five games will also feature celebrity broadcasters and be shown in 180-degree immersive VR.

“It is at the top of our strategy to be the leaders in innovation technology, not just in sports, but in business,” says Kaplan, “and I’ve been just totally blown away by the experiences [Cosm] will bring to fans. We have a number of great tech partners, but [Cosm] is part of that company now at the upper echelon of advancing our innovative initiatives at the league.”

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