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How Azure is Helping Create an Enhanced NBA Fan Experience Featured

How Azure is Helping Create an Enhanced NBA Fan Experience Spalding basketball in court

The NBA Playoffs are in full swing as the best basketball players in the world compete to become the champions of the 2021-22 season. Through a partnership with Microsoft, the NBA is taking advantage of the power of cloud computing to create an enhanced and more immersive fan experience with NBA CourtOptix.

Hardcore basketball fans have already been exposed to NBA CourtOptix but casual followers of the sport may be getting their first taste of this powerful and informative application during the playoffs. This offering gives fans access to previously unavailable statistics that provide insight into the performances of their favorite players and teams. 

What is NBA CourtOptix? 

The NBA is taking advantage of the evolution in the way fans consume content digitally. CourtOptix is an excellent example of how sports fans can increase their enjoyment and deepen their understanding of the game with access to a plethora of new and insightful statistics. This direct-to-consumer platform enables fans to obtain a more personalized NBA experience culled from processing an incredible volume of game-related data.  

The raw input for CourtOptix is a camera tracking system that captures player and ball movement 25 times per second throughout a game for a total of approximately 1.5 million coordinates. Throughout  an NBA season, billions of data points will be collected and processed. 

Following is a sample of the wide range of statistics and player comparisons generated and made available through CourtOptix.  

Shooting - CourtOptix provides information on how effective players are when taking various types of shots from different spots on the court. 

Sprint speed - Player positional data is used to show fans which players are putting in the maximum effort to run down opponents or execute a fast break. 

Passing - Fans can obtain data regarding the average number of forecourt passes a team makes which is an indicator of the level of teamwork they are exhibiting in a given game.  

Ball screens - Screens are used to free players up for open shots. CourtOptix provides data regarding which players are making the biggest impact on the game by setting screens for their teammates.  

Fans have full control over which team and players they want statistics on and can see how their favorites stack up against the league leaders in multiple categories. For instance, did you know that Ja Mordant of the Grizzlies is double-teamed 22.2 times per game, more than any other player in the league? 

Cloud-Based Technology Powers NBA CourtOptix 

CourtOptix would not be possible without the advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology available in the Azure cloud. The Microsoft cloud offerings used to create and maintain CourtOptix include Azure Data Lake Storage, Azure Machine Learning, and Azure Databricks. All player tracking data is consolidated and processed in the cloud while the NBA keeps some historical information in an on-premises Microsoft SQL Server environment.  

Using the cloud lets the NBA build more personalized options into CourtOptix, taking advantage of the scalability of Azure’s resources. The real-time insights and collected stats available through this fan-focused platform promise to make the games more enjoyable by digging deep into the details that influence their outcomes. 

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 Robert Agar

I am a freelance writer who graduated from Pace University in New York with a Computer Science degree in 1992. Over the course of a long IT career I have worked for a number of large service providers in a variety of roles revolving around data storage and protection. I currently reside in northeastern Pennsylvania where I write from my home office.

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