Photo: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

The NBA is teaming up with Microsoft to bring virtual fans to its live games in Orlando, Florida, starting July 30, using Microsoft's new "together mode," which it debuted earlier this month.

Why it matters: The move is part of the league's overhaul to how it presents games during the coronavirus pandemic. It will also position cameras closer to players to mimic the vantage point of seats near the court.

How it works:

  • Courts in Orlando will be outfitted with 17-foot-tall LED screens that wrap around the arena, allowing hundreds of fans to participate digitally.
  • Fans taking part will be chosen by each team and use Microsoft Teams to watch the game and interact with their fellow fans. They'll be both seen and heard in the TV broadcasts.
  • There will also be sections for players' families.
  • The NBA plans to incorporate this format into each game.

In addition, the NBA is offering up new camera angles for TV viewers to try to make the at-home experience better than it has been in the past.

  • The NBA says games in Orlando will feature up to 31 cameras (mostly robotically controlled).
  • Among the new angles are a courtside camera that simulates being about 10 rows back in the stadium, a "below the rim" cam capturing action close to the basket and a "rail cam" capturing the action all along the baseline.

The big picture: Different teams, leagues and television networks are doing different things to deal with empty stadiums. Some baseball teams are including cardboard cutouts of fans, while others are leaving their seats empty. Fox has experimented with digitized virtual crowds.

Go deeper: NBA players pick social justice jersey messaging

Go deeper

Aug 28, 2020 - Sports

NBA playoffs to resume after agreement on social justice initiatives

Photo: Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images

The NBA and its players' union agreed on Friday to resume the league's playoffs on Saturday after players refused to take the floor for a number of games this week in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.

Why it matters: As part of the agreement, the league agreed to work with the players to work toward three initiatives focused around social justice, civic engagement and voting rights.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Wall Street fears stimulus is doomed

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The fight over a new Supreme Court justice will take Washington's partisan bickering to a new level and undermine any chance for needed coronavirus relief measures before November's election, Wall Street analysts say.

What we're hearing: "With the passing of Justice Ginsburg, the level of rhetorical heat has increased, if that seemed even possible," Greg Staples, head of fixed income for the Americas at DWS Group, tells Axios in an email.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 31,346,086 — Total deaths: 965,294— Total recoveries: 21,518,790Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,858,130 — Total deaths: 199,890 — Total recoveries: 2,615,949 — Total tests: 95,841,281Map.
  3. Health: CDC says it mistakenly published guidance about COVID-19 spreading through air.
  4. Media: Conservative blogger who spread COVID-19 misinformation worked for Fauci's agency.
  5. Politics: House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11.
  6. World: U.K. upgrades COVID alert level as Europe sees worrying rise in infections — "The Wake-Up Call" warns the West about the consequences of mishandling a pandemic.

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