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NBA and Microsoft team up to transform fan experiences with cloud application modernization

Posted on 16 November, 2022

General Manager, Azure Digital and Application Innovation

There’s nothing quite like watching a basketball game and cheering on your favorite team as they battle it out for points before the buzzer sounds. From the players and employees to the technology, all need to work in lockstep to deliver a truly immersive experience.

As fans, we expect personalized experiences that bring the virtual world and the real world together on and off the court. This means brand new viewing experiences and virtual reality, real-time highlights of our favorite basketball games, and seamless ways to connect with other fans (and rivals!) when we want, how we want.

Having the right technology partner and cloud-based app transformation strategy is necessary to help organizations like the National Basketball Association (NBA) continue to deliver such unforgettable experiences and exceed fan expectations. Successful app modernization requires teamwork, which is why we’re proud to share our latest customer story featuring our partnership with the NBA.

An indoor stadium basketball hoop, the Microsoft Azure logo, and text sit on top of a dark background. The text reads: NBA ramps up fan excitement with reimagined modern apps. Read the customer story.

Inside the customer playbook: NBA’s IT Application Development Group

Our latest customer story takes you into the world of the NBA’s IT Application Development Group, a dedicated team responsible for developing and maintaining the NBA's applications for internal and external users. The NBA leveraged Microsoft Azure application platform services for app modernization to accelerate the time to market of apps for multiple use cases that have elevated the NBA experience wherever fans, referees, and employees engage.

This process involved consolidating the apps and data the NBA was running from multiple locations into one place, including those that were on-premises. Modernizing a large app estate requires the NBA’s IT Application Development Group to plan for many tasks, from configuration and security to provisioning and scaling, and optimizing the networking and storage needs. Utilizing cloud technologies such as Azure App Service enabled the NBA to accelerate time to market by offloading these routine but important tasks to a fully managed application platform. They further streamlined the app development process with low-code and no-code capabilities using Azure and PowerApps.

How did this translate for fans, referees, and employees? Here’s a sneak peek of the use cases that you can read in detail in our customer story:

The red, white, and blue NBA logo features the letters, NBA, and the silhouette of a basketball player and a ball.

Fans: See how the NBA used virtual simulations and digital in-game experiences, to ensure fans felt connected to the game (and one another) when gathering in person was still difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Referees (but really, fans!): Learn about REPS (Referee Engagement and Performance System), an app designed to aid referees and management in evaluation, collaboration, training, and development to ensure game consistency—and no bad calls.

Employees: Discover NBAOne, an internal mobile-first app the NBA created for its 1,800 employees consolidating no fewer than 50+ different applications into a single-sign-on experience. This simple-to-use app helped employees do everything from booking game tickets to marking time off, significantly improving their day-to-day employee experience.

Achieving a faster time to market

When it comes to delivering new experiences, we know that faster time to market is what keeps customers coming back. Azure brings not only the technology but also a number of fully managed services to support faster app and data modernization at scale:

  • Leverage fully managed application and data services such as Azure App Service, Azure Spring Apps, Azure SQL Database Hyperscale, and Azure Cosmos DB.
  • Quickly deploy line of business apps with low-code application development using Power Apps and Azure.
  • Build on containers with Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).
  • Manage continuous deployment and development workstreams with AzureDevOps.
  • Get unmatched technical expertise through Microsoft United Support.

As a versatile platform with global scale, built-in security, and high availability, Azure is the all-star in your playbook to accelerate time-to-market with modern apps.

A smiling man texting on a mobile phone in front of a blue brick wall, the Microsoft Azure logo, and a quote with text sit on top of a dark background. Under a blue quote symbol, the text reads: We have been able to really personalize the end users’ experience to their liking. –Sahil Gupta, SVP Head of Application Development, NBA. Read the customer story.

Choose your modern apps transformation strategy

Every customer is a potential fan, and when it comes to choosing the right technology partner, accelerating time to market, enabling higher productivity, and global scale are factors that deliver memorable customer experiences time and time again. We’re thrilled to have the NBA partner with Azure on this important mission and love the opportunity to this customer story.

Is your organization exploring app modernization? Learn more about Application and data modernization and how Azure can help you accelerate time to market to deliver incredible experiences.