NBA, Cisco Open Vault of Amazing Playoff Memories
By Carolyn Braff
Through the robust video capabilities of NBA.com, basketball fans have had the ability to edit their own highlight packages and post them online for the past year. The missing piece of the puzzle, however, is the ability to make those highlight packages personal, which is the idea behind the new NBA Amazing Playoff Moments video library.
“After having been through different variations on this theme, we arrived at the fact that what people really cherished most are their playoff memories,” explains Steve Hellmuth, EVP of operations and technology for the NBA and chairman of the SVG advisory board. “What was really compelling to both us at the NBA and to Cisco, who was interested immediately in sponsoring it, was the idea that people can relive those playoff memories and share them with others.”
The Amazing Playoff Moments video library allows fans to search from more than 100 clips of the top moments in NBA Playoffs history, dating back to the 1940s, and create personalized video playlists to share on social-networking sites. A team from NBA Digital agreed on what the 100 playoff clips would be, and additional content is being added from the current post-season, as moments merit inclusion in the gallery.
“It’s not so much about editing highlights together and competing with what’s already on NBA.com,” Hellmuth explains. “It’s about easy access to your fondest memories of when your team competed or when your favorite player competed, and then comparing it with your friends’. It’s really a popular item.”
More than 3.26 million Amazing Playoff Moment videos have been streamed since NBA.com/amazing went live on May 16.
The video quality is “as good as it can get,” according to Hellmuth, and each clip includes the audio call as well as the video.
The gallery took just three months from concept to completion.
“Because we already had an application that allows you to create your own highlight package, we figured out how to take it to the next level,” Hellmuth explains. “We aimed to make it more convenient, make it easier, and make it based on people’s memories, rather than editing hero pieces about current NBA players.”
To promote the gallery, and Cisco’s sponsorship of the product, NBA legends Robert Horry, Bernard King, and Dominique Wilkins participated in a live interactive Webcast event, using Cisco WebEx technology. WebEx combines real-time desktop sharing, streaming media, and phone conferencing to bring fans closer to their favorite players and teams, no matter where in the world they are.
“At the NBA, we’re going to do a lot of our meetings that way in order to hold down costs,” Hellmuth explains. “Between the chat and the ability to take questions via phone, it keeps people interacting, which is good.”
It’s even better when that interaction is between fans and players, as was the case during the Webcast.
“WebEx is one of many different types of technologies that we have been working on with the NBA that help bring fans closer to the game and closer to their favorite athletes in a way that they’ve never experienced before,” says Cisco Sports Communications Group’s Chris Barker. “It ties to our involvement in leveraging technology to give fans a different experience, where the common denominator is video technology.”
Cisco has deployed numerous interactive technologies over the past year to bring fans closer to their teams, from Telepresence video technology powering a four-city press conference with Yao Ming to enabling fans at the NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix to interact with ESPN broadcasters in Bristol, CT.
“Video is something that has been on the rise in different sports leagues, both across the U.S. and internationally,” Barker says. “The WebEx session is one way to give fans a level of behind-the-scenes intimacy or proximity to their favorite athletes that they have never experienced before.”
The NBA Amazing Playoff Moments video library is online at NBA.com/amazing.