NBA, Verizon Innovation Partnership Brings League Pass To Yahoo Sports

Innovation, NBA, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

By Diamond Leung SportTechie | Originally published January 17, 2018

The NBA and Verizon announced on Wednesday the expansion of its content and technology partnership that includes the streaming of NBA League Pass games to Oath’s Yahoo Sports, enhanced Yahoo Fantasy experiences, and the development of augmented reality experiences on Verizon’s 5G network.

NBA League Pass brings live out-of-market games to Yahoo and other Verizon media platforms, with up to eight of those games available for a free preview along with a new daily show for fans to watch. With the new Official NBA Fantasy format, fans can start their fantasy season at any time and get customized fantasy highlight packages.

NBA content will be available to fans on any wireless carrier via Yahoo Sports.

“You’ll be able to sit and watch on your iPad and your phone,” Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said. “You’ll be able to have all your fantasy statistics right below it. You’ll be able to interact with the game. We put together a $25 million fund where we decide how we’re going to create innovative products.”

The innovation of the component of the partnership could lead to unique content as Verizon looks to grow its premium sports content offerings. For example, virtual reality and augmented reality are expected to be on display starting with the All-Star game in Los Angeles next month.

“Verizon is uniquely positioned to partner with the NBA in a first of-its-kind technology and content partnership that will serve the NBA’s dynamic fan base with more live action, fantasy and lifestyle content in addition to experiential opportunities in the U.S. and globally through Yahoo Fantasy,” Brian Angiolet, SVP, Global Chief Media and Content Officer at Verizon, said in a statement. “With the addition of live NBA games, highlights, classic footage, originals and more to our mobile sports offering, Yahoo Sports and Verizon’s family of media brands are becoming the first-screen for fans of live sports, and a superior alternative for partners and advertisers.”

Added Bill Koenig, NBA President, Global Content and Media Distribution: “This expanded partnership allows us to tap into Verizon’s expansive reach and new technologies to engage our fans through a variety of innovative experiences.”

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Is Hyper-Reality a Real Life Threat?

Virtual Reality, Hyperreality, Augmented Reality, 3D Imagery

Have you ever gotten so caught up in watching a game or a video through virtual reality, that you were unable to consciously decipher whether it was real or not? There are several technological applications designed for play or entertainment that add new dimensions of digital components where the real and virtual worlds enhance each other. Such technology transports end-users into a new age of collaboration and thinking.

Virtual reality (VR), a common application and acronym we are familiar with, offers digital recreation of a real life setting. Typically VR headsets are very popular with gamers, entertainment, media, films, and design, by merging the power of 3-dimensional graphics in an artificial environment. Augmented reality (AR) provides virtual elements in a setting that overlay the real world. Mixed reality (MR) on the other hand, sometimes referred to as Hybrid reality (HR) merges and interrelate the real and virtual worlds, which reacts to each other in real-time environments and visualizations.

Leaders in the tech industry are doing some revolutionary things with motion-activated commands and holograms. VR and AR technology can possibly make a great impact on the medical field. While we are making quantum leaps between virtual, augmented and hybrid worlds, are we also experiencing cautionary symptoms of hyperreality? Hyperreality, a postmodern semiotic concept, coined by French Sociologist and Cultural Theorist, Jean Baudrillard, (according to his book, Simulacra and Simulation), explains a human condition in which the inability to consciously distinguish simulation from the real world really exists.

Technology is reflecting entertainment, reality, and function in radical ways. Of course, there are discussions from various non-tech individuals who seem to agree that addictions to simulated reality, particularly where young people are involved, sometimes gives evidence of real-time life encounters handled through the lens of the 3-D world. For example, kids may not truly understand the consequences resulting from the danger of handling an unsecured weapon and mimicking a VR fight scene that could have fatal consequences.

So what do you think? With such amazing software used to create entertainment for these devices, can hyperreality become such a threat that many gamers may not be able to logically distinguish hybrid reality from the real world?