January 19, 2023
Rehab Agency

How Boost catapulted Turner Sports to pioneer NBA fandom through AI.

For nearly four decades, Turner Sports has been an established broadcasting partner of the NBA. However, they are always looking to solidify their reputation as the league's most innovative media partner. With the league celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2022, it was the perfect occasion to showcase some futuristic AI innovation; however, they needed a partner who could slot easily into internal teams and workflows to deliver a groundbreaking AI experience.

The solution was Boost; our fast-to-market, on-demand UXD and emerging tech expertise that de-risks major brand innovation, helping get the product or experience right the first time, on budget.

Coming in clutch

NBA fans are flooded with an abundance of content, so to cut through the noise, Turner Sports decided to build a novel experience that leveraged AI & ML, to help celebrate this important anniversary. The Northstar vision was to launch an experience that would enable both old and young fans alike to discover more about the NBA’s history and the 75 best players to grace the league, through the lens of AI.

We knew the key was in the data, so we formulated ideas on how we could unlock a universe of archived data points that turn statistics into stories, whilst making it even easy for fans to discover some of the most remarkable moments of the NBA.

Gamified AI to drive All-Star engagement

We identified two crucial audiences; the long-time followers of the NBA known as “The Nostalgic Revisitors”, and newer fans labeled “The Discoverers”, then began conducting fan and stakeholder interviews to gain insight into how a cross-era dream team experience would be received across each persona.

After validating the concept we presented back wireframes for ‘Ultimate 5’, the AI-powered dream team experience that would challenge fans to create their perfect NBA team from a possible 18,000,000+ combinations. Teaming up with data scientists from Warner, we created a machine learning cluster algorithm that produced a definitive list of every possible combination of teams. Then we used AI to rank the possible teams according to diversity factors, such as different eras, positions, skills and awards.

Championship winning UX

The core journey needed to enable fans to traverse NBA history seamlessly, observing players in the natural context of their time, stylised in a way that reflected their era. Within the experience, we wanted users to be able to spool through iconic player moments within a single view or shuffle to a random moment, creating a natural discovery of players across the full 75-year span. We also took into consideration accessibility and made a firm decision on non-compulsory log-ins.

To create stickiness we used multiple tactics. These ranged from encouraging multiple team creation through smart UX and copy, through to unique upscaled video montages of selected teams to drive awareness and shareability. Leaderboards featuring pundits, owners and celebrities then took the competitiveness up to the next level.

Nothing but net (growth)

Ultimate 5 was launched on live TV, on the NBA 75 Ultimate Draft show. The game was played by basketball legends, team owners and celebrity pundits, with glowing feedback in real-time, sparking huge discourse and debate over social prior to launch.

We launched to the public over NBA All Star week 2022. Over 250,000 teams were created by fans with the top 3 most picked players being Lebron James, (137,602 teams) Michael Jordan (137,178 teams) and Steph Curry (96,761).

The AI game execution has succeeded in solidifying Turner Sports’ position within the NBA as their most progressive broadcast partner.

Get in touch now or drop us a line to see how Boost can work for you.

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