The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced the second installment of NBA Launchpad, the league’s initiative to source, evaluate and pilot emerging technologies that advance the NBA’s top priorities on and off the court. Given the success of the platform in advancing key basketball priorities during its inaugural year, the 2023 NBA Launchpad is expanding to identify emerging fan experiences at home and in NBA arenas.
Starting today, companies and entrepreneurs can apply to NBA Launchpad by submitting innovations that address one of six priority areas:
- Basketball: Soft Tissue Injury Prevention and Recovery, Healthy Playing Habits in Youth Basketball, Disrupting the Game (Open Category)
- Fan Experience: Game Production and Viewing Experience, In-Seat Experience, Sports Betting Experience
Following a rigorous evaluation process, selected applicants will participate in a six-month R&D project within the NBA’s ecosystem. As part of NBA Launchpad, companies and entrepreneurs will receive access to NBA resources, hands-on support and other unique incentives to develop future technologies. At the conclusion of the program, Launchpad companies will present to NBA executives, strategic partners and investors during Demo Day at NBA Summer League.
Description of 2023 Priority Areas:
Soft Tissue Injury Prevention and Recovery
Soft tissue injuries comprise over 50% of all injuries leading to missed games in NBA players and can impair performance, limit playing time, and disrupt a career. The NBA is seeking solutions that enhance how we handle soft tissue injury risk and recovery. Technologies that predict, prevent or rehabilitate soft tissue injuries will keep our players on the court and embolden them to play with a lower risk of injury.
Healthy Playing Habits in Youth Basketball
To promote a healthy and positive youth basketball experience, the NBA and USA Basketball Youth Guidelines provide age-appropriate recommendations for youth basketball participation that: (a) establish sufficient time for rest and recovery, (b) promote organized and peer-led play (e.g., pick-up), and (c) reduce cumulative, high-density competitions. These standards are based on expert consensus and research to decrease the risk of injury while promoting skill development and long-term success in basketball. To promote healthy playing habits that will lead to longer and more productive careers for our future stars, the NBA is seeking technologies that help grassroots players and coaches better understand and manage their participation, with a focus on solutions that support the core principles of the Youth Guidelines.
Disrupting the Game (Open Category)
To continue innovating the sport, the NBA is seeking to identify world-class companies disrupting basketball priority areas, including player development, talent discovery, officiating and player health & wellness.
Enhancing Fan Experiences
Game Production and Viewing Experience
As the media consumption landscape continues to shift, the NBA is seeking to continue to innovate how the game of basketball is produced, distributed and experienced. Technologies that create new models for game production and distribution or introduce new forms of game viewership will allow for continued game innovation and will improve telecasts for NBA fans around the world.
A fan’s seat is their home within our arena and every moment during their journey is an opportunity to deepen their fandom. In order to keep fans engaged and immersed in the game, the NBA is seeking technologies that involve fans directly from their seats to create interactive business solutions and fan activations to enhance the game day experience.
Sports Betting Experience
Sports betting is growing in popularity as new states legalize throughout the country, but the state-by-state rollout has stifled product innovation. We are seeking technologies that make the experience of betting on the live game more engaging, more intuitive, and more enjoyable for our fans. Potential areas of interest include, but are not limited to, (a) dynamic “microbetting” opportunities, (b) interactive products allowing fans to suggest what they want to bet, and (c) live game digital overlays to access betting accounts. Sportradar, the NBA’s Official Partner, will join the Advisory Board and help assess the technologies.