The NBA brand is a leader of ALL professional organizations. They have shown other professional organizations how to behave in the midst of a pandemic, in addition, a fight for equality. Even playing in isolation they still found a way to involve the fans. This leadership has skyrocketed their viewership, generating higher ratings on television.
They are testing every person that enters the arena for safety and health. They are socially distancing in the interviews with the players and coaches, in addition to wearing masks in the stands. By proactively taking these precautions they show their concern for the well being of everyone involved with the NBA.
In unison before the games, both players, coaches, and referees kneel during the national anthem protesting inequality in the USA. In mid court of every game they have in big bold letters - BLACK LIVES MATTER. On the back of the jersey's where their names are normally, they have selected BLM phrases that each player chooses themselves. They also have signs on their rotating billboards that exclaim phrases like 'Rise Together'. Coaches and players have voiced their opinions on screen during interviews on current events taking place and it's encouraged. The NBA has enabled the players and coaches to have that voice, empowering them.
One interesting thing that the NBA is doing is instead of isolating their fans entirely from the live playoff games, they allow fans to log on to a screen to be visible during a segments of the game.
An Idea Worth Sharing
I worked as an intern for then The Charlotte Bobcats in 2001 (now the Hornets). In marketing, there was a small stadium seating with a projector similar to luxury movie theater seats, to sell box tickets. Like the image below.
The NBA has a lucrative opportunity to take these rooms and turn them into 3D or even 4D viewing rooms. Cameras can be viewed courtside which would allow for a completely immersive reality. Rooms can be reserved for viewing with a group of friends which would include Oculus headsets. You can have audio courtside from the announcers but also select individual players that are mic'd up during the game. Fans that like viewing games in isolation can have the availability to purchase courtside viewing privileges in their own 3D headsets. This will completely change the game for how fans can and will interact. Courtside viewing would become democratic and would no longer require thousands of dollars. People will be able to enjoy the courtside experience individually or in a group package collectively. Stadiums would still sell out, but you would have the opportunity to sell even more available space. In more ways than one, this idea is … a definite Game Changer!