NBA plans 5G smartphone broadcasts at 2020 All Star Game

The National Basketball Association is looking to continue to experiment with its innovative 5G smartphone broadcast initiative at next year’s NBA All Star Game at the United Center in Chicago.

The NBA made broadcasting history during the July 11 Summer League game between the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards in Las Vegas, which had an alternate feed shot exclusively on smartphone cameras using 5G mobile technology.

Wireless carrier AT&T provided the 5G video infrastructure for the live game production, which deployed six Samsung phones to shoot the action using the LiveU Smart mobile app. ‘The Smartphone View’ broadcast was carried on the ESPN App, internationally on NBA League Pass, and NBA TV Canada.

The league is expected to continue the initiative at the 2020 NBA All Star Game in February and possibly again at the 2020 Summer League. It is also likely that sideline reporters could use smartphones for interviews going forward.

“It’s a long-term version and we had an opportunity at Summer League to make a short-term splash,” Paul Benedict, NBA associate vice-president of broadcasting content management, said at the SVG Summit in New York on December 17.

“There is something way less intimidating about a smartphone. We’ve had some of our best access moments through smartphones. There is a level of comfort and familiarity which has really opened some doors and some eyes. And the feedback we’ve had from pretty much everyone from across the board has been very positive so there is a lot more to explore there. All Star is going to present some exciting possibilities.”