The LA Clippers will need to play without fans in attendance, but that doesn’t mean they can’t let them in on the action.
When the LA Clippers return to action they’ll be doing so in a neutral location and will be playing in front of near-empty crowds. The only people in attendance will be those approved by the NBA to enter the campus environment they create for the remainder of the 2019-20 season. The team can forget about chasing a championship in front of their own cheering fans, for this season at least.
It also means that fans of the team do not get to witness one of the best rosters the franchise has ever produced compete live in a playoff atmosphere. It’s certainly not the dream scenario Clippers fans have hoped for when thinking about their team’s first title. Nevertheless, a ring is a ring.
The unique situation could lead to creative ways that the Clippers and other NBA teams can let their fans in on the action, while they’re not actually allowed to attend games.
Let social media have its day in the sun.
This is a prime opportunity for teams to up their social media game to let fans in. They can take advantage of the many live options provided on various platforms to give fans behind-the-scenes access to life inside the NBA bubble. Let them watch parts of practice, give them a seat at the table for team meals, let them “hang out” with the team while they are chilling in the hotel room after a long day of work. The possibilities are endless.
Of course, teams would need to keep some aspects of practice, film studies, and strategy closed to fans and others, but the inside access to life in the NBA bubble would add an interesting layer outside of just being able to watch the games.
New broadcast wrinkles.
Televising an NBA game without a stadium full of cheering fans will be new and different. Teams can take advantage of this by filming the game from new, up-close-and-personal angles. Fans can get a look at the action as they never have before.
The lack of in-arena sound also provides an interesting opportunity to hear more “sounds of the game” live from the court. We’re not sure many NBA players (or the league) would love the idea of fans hearing all the trash talk that goes on when players take to the floor, but fans would certainly love it. Broadcasts can make sure to use proper delays to avoid any potential sensitive language they wouldn’t want to make it onto the air, or even pick and choose what audio segments they’d want to share in replay scenarios.
Fans watching the action would all be able to feel like they have courtside seats, something a very small percentage will actually get to experience for themselves in real life.
Hear what fans have to say.
While fans can’t be heard while in attendance at the game, the Clippers and the league can give them a voice in other ways. For example, they can use social media and video conferencing services to give certain fans access to post-game press conferences, bringing a Reddit-style AMA to life. This would allow a few fans per night to ask their favorite players and coaches the questions they really want the answers to. This could also be utilized by any studio shows, letting certain fans in to give their opinion on the action and let their voices be heard.
In addition to broadcasting games, the NBA could cover the campus environment like it was the Olympic Games. With all personnel required to stay in the bubble, broadcast teams could be set up to give tours of the facilities, create human interest pieces about players, teams, and their situations, and show the lives of the players while they are in this unique playing situation.
While fans won’t be able to be inside the actual bubble, the LA Clippers and the rest of the league can make them feel like they are a part of it, bringing unprecedented access to life inside the NBA.