Despite their loss to Denver Nuggets in the Staples Center opening night, L.A. Clippers are winning on another court. Steve Ballmer, a former Microsoft CEO Clippers owner, ran one of the most ambitious AR sports event projects ever. Enter L.A Clippers AR CourtVision.
Cameras are everywhere now. There is not a grain of action left non-covered. The next frontline for sports broadcasting rests on Reality tech and gadgets. NextVR is a sublime platform for live VR events, but Augmented Reality might be better equipped to enhance the viewing experience and change how we see sports profoundly. To do this, L.A. Clippers’ Steve Ballmer once again puts a revolutionary hat and delivers in kind. The Staples Center opening night not only witnessed the Clippers new NBA season efforts, but also the rollout of AR broadcasting platform CourtVision.
The new technology uses AR to run the additional stat info in-action. CourtVision runs on artificial language and machine learning to deliver bits of on-screen annotations, the probability of a player drilling an open shot, for instance. By tracking movement at a granular level, Clippers AR CourtVision exerts both AI and Machine learning to superimpose AR information on screen. ‘I think we have got something exciting… something that will be super valuable’ Ballmer commented before the big game. The feature is available come gametime through FOX Sports app to all L.A.-based SPT subscribers.
Much like in a video game, viewers are faced with a choice of mode they want to enjoy the game in. Coach Mode offers highlights plays as they develop, while the Player Mode opens up a world of real-time advanced statistics. There is a third mode, Mascot, which has a goofy way of marking spectacular shots and dunks. Due to all the computer processing that takes place The CourtVision AR broadcast comes with a 2-minute delay. The developing company however, aims to cut the delay time significantly.
The startup responsible for perfecting this interesting platform is Second Spectrum. More than simply enhancing the viewing experience, the developers are hoping that Clippers AR CourtVision has the potential to radically redefine the pro sports viewing. ‘We think everyone will watch sports this way’ Second Spectrum CEO Rajiv Maheswaran hopes. He further hopes that we’d turn one day and wonder how in the world we could watch all ‘the same things at the same time’. Having Ballmer as an investor in the project certainly helps the idea. Soon the other NBA owners might follow suit.
Let us turn back to the cameras again. Besides the Clippers AR Courtvision app, Steve Ballmer is pushing forward another app-enabled feature. This one will have the viewers taking the front seat in terms of what camera is currently on. Viewers will easily shift between cameras, just as they will choose among various audio feeds. Clippers are not alone in the AR sports coverage endeavor. Magic Leap’s NBA associations, Apple’s HomeCourt, or MLB’s At Bat app, all of these point to a shift in how events will be experienced. The ball is in the fans’ court now, to embrace the novelty, or ignore it.