The Brooklyn Nets’ metaverse tech puts players on the virtual court

It's the first instance of a professional sports team in America getting in on the virtual world gold rush.

The metaverse gold rush has been well underway over the past year, as brands look to incorporate their own imprint on what some deem to be the future of our day-to-day lives. Sometimes this involves the creation of a virtual world to explore and showcase products from the brand in question. Other times, this can be more expansive — like acquiring companies that produce metaverse-adjacent technology such as VR/AR hardware.

In the case of the Brooklyn Nets, a relatively new NBA franchise that relocated from New Jersey in 2012, pivoting towards the metaverse is a move to broaden how fans experience the game of basketball. Over the weekend the Nets became the first American sports franchise to get in on the action. They’ve appropriately titled their entry the “Netaverse.”

So what exactly is the “Netaverse”? Well, it’s an innovative video system that makes use of over 100 high-resolution cameras that surround the court in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Footage from this network of cameras is then fed into Canon’s free viewpoint system, which can generate life-like, 3D renderings in a matter of seconds.

360-degree viewing — The aim of this technology is to allow fans to place themselves all over the court — whether that’s on the sidelines, under the basket, or even smack dab in the middle of the court. With this debut, the Nets are the only team in the NBA that provides fans with a true, 360-degree virtual reality experience. The Barclays Center is the only sports stadium in the U.S. that has installed these cameras.

It seems like the Nets are banking on the hoop fans to invest in some VR hardware. We wouldn’t be surprised if a partnership with some of the leading manufacturers emerges sometime in the future.

This isn’t the first instance of the NBA embracing modern technology and trends — the Dallas Mavericks have been giving away NFTs for all of their home games. Players have also begun minting NFTs based on players’ career milestones.

Late last year, secured the largest U.S. venue naming rights deal in history, and the company also currently serves as the advertising patch on the Philadelphia 76ers’ jerseys.