Professional basketball—especially March Madness– has always been at the forefront of innovation and technology. It has become a high-tech industry, and the use of automation and cloud computing has become an essential part of the game.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and its teams are always exploring new ways to gain a competitive edge. One of the most significant technological advancements in recent years has been the integration of automation and cloud computing into the sport. 

Cloud computing has become a crucial part of March Madness’s infrastructure, as it allows them to store and analyze vast amounts of data, including player statistics and game footage. The best part is that they can access this data from anywhere and collaborate with other teams in real-time. 

Automation has been a game-changer. 

The league uses automated software to handle many operations such as scheduling games, managing ticket sales, and advertising campaigns. This automation saves time and money, making their operations more efficient and accurate. 

One of the most exciting things about automation and cloud computing is how they’re used in AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning). These technologies analyze player data and game footage to identify patterns and make predictions about player performance and game outcomes. Coaches and managers use this information to develop training programs and game strategies that give their teams a competitive edge. 

Fans also benefit from automation and cloud computing, as the league uses chatbots to answer their questions and provide them with the information they need. Cloud-based systems deliver streaming video and other content to fans, making it easier for them to stay connected with their favorite teams from anywhere in the world. 

These technologies have enabled coaches and analysts to gain new insights into player performance and game strategy, and have led to the development of new training tools. As the use of automation and cloud computing continues to grow in basketball, we can expect to see even more innovation and advancement in the sport. 

When the NBA took on new technology, to enhance the experience for fans, players, and teams. they needed to accomplish a cloud-first approach—and a cloud partner that allowed it to scale up dramatically when needed. “Being able to spin up more compute when we need it during games is crucial,” Sarachek says in an article written about the experience.

Using Cloud Data to Deliver Personalized Data On Demand

“In 2020, NBA CourtOptix was launched with a primary focus on enhancing the fan experience. The platform delivers post-game analysis that combines video with previously challenging-to-track statistics, such as identifying players who get double-teamed more frequently. But now, with the help of Microsoft Azure, the NBA can share advanced stats that enrich journalists’, teams’, and employees’ understanding of the game which can transform how the game is experienced.

Every game night, NBA teams receive a cache of data on each game, a detailed breakdown that is changing team strategies. Teams that have signed up to receive data get it after each contest, helping them make adjustments on the fly—all thanks to a seamless backend data flow created by Microsoft Azure developers. As soon as a game ends, Azure Cosmos DB is used to check metadata to ensure the system should process the matchup. Then, Azure Kubernetes Service kicks off various pipelines running on Azure Databricks, which leverages ML and AI to process information (like the aforementioned defensive metrics). After being stored on Azure Data Lake Storage, the data is automatically synced to teams’ Azure Storage Containers using Azure Data Share. This cloud-first approach helps the NBA save money by being able to scale resources up and down as needed while ensuring data is seamlessly processed and shared with teams.

“With Azure Data Share, we can go into the Azure console and invite a new team or partner to receive the data,” Sarachek says.  “Once they accept the invitation, they receive updated data in their Azure environments without having to build workflows or processes to pull it in themselves.” ” (read the full article here).

Automation and cloud computing have become essential tools for the NBA and its teams. They help improve player performance, streamline their operations, enhance the fan experience, and explore new innovations. It’s exciting to think about what’s next for the NBA as they continue to embrace these technologies and take the game to the next level!