News and Society

NBA Partners With Facial Recognition App Helping Fans Relive Glory Moments


The NBA has signed a multi-year deal with the facial recognition app 15 Seconds of Fame that will enable fans to easily find and share videoboard and broadcast appearances in all 29 NBA arenas.

The 15SOF app uses a proprietary end-to-end tech stack, which includes facial recognition software, to capture in-game moments that fans can share across their social media channels.

“NBA fans are some of the most passionate and engaged fans in all of sports, and their videoboard and TV moments are exactly the reason that we created this technology and platform,” said 15SOF Chairman Bruce Cohen, in a statement.

The company has been expanding its presence across the U.S., partnering with professional and collegiate teams and inking a multi-year deal with MLBAM last year that includes all 30 league ballparks and a deal with the NHL that includes all 31 league teams. Its specific team partnerships have spanned MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL and NCAA, including the University of Michigan and Big Ten Network.

Last summer NBA legend Kobe Bryant invested in and joined the board of 15SOF through his investment company, Kobe Inc. Cohen at the time said Bryant’s insight into sports, entertainment, sponsorship and media would play “a major role in the growth of 15SOF.” The company had plans to leverage Kobe Inc.’s experience in live events to expand into new areas.

In addition to offering fan engagement opportunities for leagues and teams, the company says it enables sponsors to directly connect with consumers through the app.

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SportTechie Takeaway

Facial recognition technology is being used across sports in a variety of ways. With 15SOF, the technology is powering new fan experiences and offering a new opportunity for sponsors to connect with fans. Elsewhere, Fancam is using the technology to take high-resolution photos of arenas that fans can then browse and tag themselves in to share via social media. It also offers brand sponsorship opportunities.

Fancam’s technology goes a step further, however, as the company recently rolled out an analytics platform with algorithms that help teams identify patterns and trends among fans so they can tweak operations to maximize revenue. While Fancam’s technology doesn’t identify people by name, it can be integrated with other software used by teams (such as mobile ticketing data) to draw links. Fancam can also deploy algorithms to provide teams with gender heatmaps and make general assumptions about age.



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