Although total viewership for the NBA is down in comparison to the 2014-2015 season, sports fans, officials, and players alike remain optimistic about the future of their sport. In the face of a declining audience, however, some team owners and league executives might have to tap into their creative sides to increase interest.
Utilizing Technology for Projection Mapping
The process of projecting a moving image onto a non-flat surface was first used in 1969 within Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion attraction. While these ghostly images have entertained and terrified visitors for decades, it would be some time until the technology attained mainstream appeal.
Fast forward to the 21st century and projection mapping has entered a whole new realm. Many teams across the NBA and NCAA are now using next-gen graphics to add extra life and dimension to their flat, mundane courts. The technology is only used during intermissions and for pregame festivities, but the introduction of projection mapping during a game would certainly put a fresh spin on it.
Adding a 4-Point Line for More Excitement
The size and dimensions of the modern basketball court were established years ago. Although there are slight differences when comparing courts of the NBA, NCAA and high school-level basketball, these standards aren’t necessarily permanent.
Some fans are rallying for the introduction of a 4-point line. A brand new basketball league, called the Big 3, has already introduced the 4-point shot. Pioneered by actor and rapper Ice Cube, the Big 3 is a 3-on-3 basketball league that features former NBA stars. The league utilizes some other alternate rules, including the stipulation that the first team to reach 60 points wins. No more running out the clock.
Seeing Increased Investments
One thing is certain about the future of basketball — there will be more money involved across the board.
David Stern, the former commissioner of the NBA, has received much of the credit for reversing the downward trends of the NBA and turning it into a sport that generates $5 billion on an annual basis. He is confident that the sudden popularity of online streaming services will help the NBA flourish in the coming years.
In-game advertising could also increase in the future. We already see commercial advertisements on scoreboards and stadium screens from coast to coast. It’s only a matter of time before we’ll see full promotional patches and badges adorning player uniform. This approach has long been used by the likes of NASCAR and other sports that rely heavily on third-party sponsorships and investors.
Looking Forward to an Exciting and Innovative Future
While we can’t discount the skill of today’s professional basketball players, it will take more than flashy moves and winning streaks for the NBA to regain the momentum it had through the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Innovations like projection mapping, the possibility of increased scoring and trends like in-game advertising might seem superfluous or excessive, but they could help usher in a new level of competitiveness and, in turn, cultivate a brand new ballgame.