LeBron James of the Cavaliers shoots against the Warriors in Game 2 of the 2018 NBA Finals. Fans with the NBA app can try their hand at shooting, too.(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Before the start of the 2017-18 NBA season, the league launched an augmented reality app, NBA AR, to try to bring fans closer to the game. At first the app featured just a virtual pop-a-shot, but during the playoffs, the league added 360-degree portals. SportTechie took a quick look at what the app experience is like for fans.
The first feature on the iOS and Android app was pop-a-shot. To try your hand at this, just point your camera at an open space, tap your screen, and a hoop should appear.
To grab a ball, tap the screen again. To shoot, you flick your phone forwards. The goal is to make as many baskets as possible in the allotted amount of time.
The new 360 portals mode works in a similar way. You point your phone’s camera somewhere, tap the screen, and a doorway appears.
Take a few steps forward into the doorway and all of a sudden you’re transported inside an NBA arena. You can watch Kevin Durant warm up, enjoy the Cavaliers’ introductions, sit front row at a Warriors game, get inside the Celtics’ huddle, or watch Anthony Davis slam dunk.
And when you’re done inside the virtual world, just turn around and you’ll find the portal that takes you home.
Leagues and brands are searching to find ways to leverage augmented and virtual reality to give fans a more engaging view of the sports they watch. The NBA isn’t the only AR shooting game: Triangle Factory’s H.O.R.S.E. game is another example. The Sharks became the first NHL franchise to launch an Oculus VR app last October. Al Jazeera used AR to help explain some of the events at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. An app made by Thyng gave college fans a chance to dance along with their mascots during the NCAA basketball tournament. And consumers can now even shop for Nike shoes in AR.