Mar 26 2014

NBA Commissioner Views Technology as a Driving Force in the League's Future

Professional basketball leaders are interested in improving NBA teams’ use of tech, not just players’ jump shots.

The NBA has been among the most vocal supporters of the use of technology in sports. The league reached into its pockets and put its money where its mouth is last year when it invested in STATS’ SportsVU system, making it the first professional sports league to quantify and track every game.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver doubled down on the NBA’s pro-tech viewpoint recently while speaking to the Boston College Chief Executives’ Club of Boston.

“One of my goals as commissioner is to use innovation and technology to capture that courtside experience,” he said, according to a report from The Boston Globe.

Silver is looking to infuse technology into the NBA experience mainly through social media and data analytics. And he consulted with the smartest minds in social media, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, during a recent trip to Silicon Valley to help brainstorm ideas.

While he didn’t reveal what came from those meetings, Silver was impressed by the culture of innovation at both companies.

“Being in the halls of those companies, you could feel this is an incredibly smart group of largely young people who have a view that they’re changing the world. And we want to be part of that,” he said.

On the data side, Silver would like to democratize things so everyone can tap into the rich pool of data the NBA has access to now thanks to its investment in SportsVU.

“Part of what is so powerful about big data is you collect it, and then it starts to tell stories. We’re collecting all kinds of new statistical data, and we’re democratizing it,” he said. “Have fun. See what you can figure out. Maybe you’ll be smarter than our teams.”

Aaron Durand/Twitter