LA Clippers: Steve Ballmer wants to change the way the NBA is broadcast

LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer
LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images) /

LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is working towards a future where NBA broadcasts look a lot different than what we’re used to. A recent profile from FastCompany tells how.

Steve Ballmer isn’t a man who is satisfied with the status quo. Since acquiring the LA Clippers in 2014, the former Microsoft CEO has turned the Clippers into a major force as an NBA franchise. The team has flipped from one contending roster to another in a few short years, and soon they will leave their current home at the Staples Center for their own stadium in Inglewood.

It only makes sense that Ballmer wants to change the way basketball looks on television as well.

A recent profile in FastCompany tells the story of how Ballmer has been working with Second Spectrum in the development of CourtVision technology to revolutionize NBA broadcasts. The Clippers have made the technology available to a select group of subscribers since 2018. It is also occasionally used for games via the FoxSports app and was used in a March 2019 ESPN broadcast of a Lakers Bucks matchup.

CourtVision uses technology to allow users to track advanced statistics in real-time as they watch the game on their compatible device. Users can click on a player to view their statistics, view maps that breakdown player movements during play development, and control their own watching experience.

The analytics movement has changed the way basketball is played. Teams focus on getting the most efficient shots, maximizing each and every possession, and work to control the pace of the game to their advantage. Soon, if Ballmer has his way, that change will be reflected in the way we watch the game as well.

Currently CourtVision features three different viewing modes. The “Player Mode” allows fans to see the probability each player has of making a shot based on their current location on the floor and the defense around them. The “Coach Mode” identifies plays, marks them on the monitor, and tracks the success of each type. Finally “Mascot Mode” adds animations to the broadcast to liven things up, making the viewing experience similar to watching a video game.

The forward-thinking Ballmer is just the type of owner the NBA needs right now. He can look at the success of the league, patterns and trends in how fans consume the game, and ask how to push forward towards the future to make a better experience for all.

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The Clippers are fortunate to have an owner who wants to expand upon their success and innovate the future of basketball. The team will be on the forefront of off-the-court activity, fan engagement, and innovation as long as he remains in control of the franchise. Their on-the-court successes, as well as their prime location in Los Angeles will only add to this to make them one of the premiere franchises in all of sports.

The entire feature on Ballmer, Second Specturm, and CourtVision is available on FastCompany’s website here. We highly recommend you give it a read.