NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Thursday said the league is working with Apple to bring a tech-enhanced viewing experience to its $3,499 Vision Pro virtual reality headset.
During an exclusive chat with The Post at Allen & Co.’s annual “summer camp for billionaires,” the hoops honcho hinted that fast breaks and slam dunks could be part of a reimagined courtside experience on Apple’s hotly anticipated device.
“We’re working very closely with Apple,” Silver said when asked about the NBA’s plans for the Vision Pro, which is due for release in early 2024.
As The Post reported, Silver, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and MLB’s Rob Manfred are in high demand at Sun Valley as TV ratings for live sports remain strong during an otherwise challenging time for the media industry,
Tech and media firms are clamoring for sports deals to attract viewers’ eyeballs as the TV networks that have traditionally carried live sports, such as ESPN, contend with ad revenue declines and increased competition from streaming services.
Disney boss Bob Iger, WarnerBros. Discovery chief David Zaslav and Apple CEO Tim Cook were among the tech and media luminaries spotted walking out of a morning slate of meetings during the conference’s second day.
Silver declined to comment on any specifics of his meetings, citing Allen & Co.’s rule that any behind-the-scenes discussions at the event remain off the record.
“Just in a general way, I’ve been having lots of conversations with media companies and tech companies,” Silver said. “It seems like the interest in premium live sports remains incredibly strong.”
“I think they’re looking at ways that they can find new opportunities to distribute these sports rights in broader ways than they’ve previously and in unique and different ways, particularly around the personalization and customization that can come with a lot of the advanced technology,” Silver added.
The NBA’’s current $24 billion media rights deal – with Disney-owned ESPN and ABC, and WarnerBros. Discovery-owned Turner Sports – runs through the end of the 2024-25 season.
VR-enhanced sports content was highlighted in Apple’s debut event for the pricey headsets in June.
During that launch event, Iger talked up how fans would be able to watch an NBA game as if they were sitting courtside.
“We have two years left on our existing television deals and we’re hugely happy with Disney and WarnerBros. Discovery,” Silver said. “They’re going to be carrying these games and we’ll go from there.”
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