The NBA is working on ways to better its virtual fan experience in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum has spoken to CNBC's Jabari Young about how the expansion of 5G technology could help the league provide a more "immersive" experience to fans. This idea includes incorporating more holographic interviews - as seen on TNT and ESPN during the Eastern and Western Conference finals - and improving virtual courtside seats.
"I think that is one of those opportunities that we're just scratching the surface on right now," Tatum said. "As bandwidth speeds get faster, as 5G gets faster, that experience is going to become more immersive, and I do think the opportunities will then grow for people to want to experience that and to adapt to virtual reality."
Rob Shaw, head of Global Sports Media and League Partnerships for Facebook, has told Young the company plans to use better camera lenses to improve the video quality of games. He also said NBA teams have reached out about adding virtual reality seats for season-tickets holders.
"If you're going to watch a game from the front row, it has to feel like you're watching it from the front row," Shaw said, using filmmaker Spike Lee's courtside seat at Madison Square Garden as an example.
"What he must see, what he must hear, to be eye level with the best athletes in the world. That experience is something I hope is brought to the platform in three to five years - for people around the world to be able to have the same experience as Spike Lee watching a Knicks game."
The NBA has yet to announce a start date for next season but is reportedly targeting Dec. 22 to begin a 72-game regular-season slate.