The NBA wants to be a global brand, and it's working. More than a billion people around the world watch a league game every year, and it's setting in-person attendance records as well. But its big idea is to bring basketball to fans no matter where they are, or on what kind of device they have.
The league released the NBA AR App, launched an augmented reality pop-a-shot game, and experimented with the technology using such apps as Snapchat. It's continued to invest in virtual reality as well, introducing the NextVR Screening Room, which lets fans view NBA League Pass games on a virtual movie theater-size screen. Speaking of League Pass, the NBA has added digital overlays and graphics that empower fans to pull up real-time player stats and game information from around the league. It also has experimented with influencer broadcasts to create more options for fans.
The NBA and Take-Two Interactive also launched the first season of the NBA 2K League, a professional esports league. It was the first time a "traditional" sports league has created an esports one. Seventeen NBA teams participated in the first season and four more will join its second.
As legalized sports betting begins to proliferate across the United States, the NBA announced a partnership with MGM Resorts, again the first time that a gaming company has teamed up with a pro sports league. MGM Resorts will integrate real-time official NBA and WNBA data into its products to create new gaming experiences.
The league has also innovated on its schedule, reducing the number of times in the 2018-19 season when teams play back-to-back games on consecutive days to improve player health and the quality of play.