The NBA officially resumed the 2019-2020 season on Thursday. And while fans loved the fact the NBA was back after a four-month hiatus, there was one thing that stood out more than anything else. When fans were watching the New Orleans Pelicans taking on the Utah Jazz, they saw fans in attendance. However, those fans weren't really at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, as the league showed off its virtual fans for the first time in front of a national audience.
"It's just an interesting move to do," Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma said earlier this week via USA Today. "Especially if we can’t have so you're just adding things to the game. But I'm not necessarily educated on it, so I got to learn more before I say something about it." For baseball, cardboard cutouts of photos of fans were placed inside stadiums since they are not allowed to attend games due to the coronavirus pandemic. The NBA took it a step further with the virtual fans, which led to social media asking a lot of questions. How does one become a virtual fan? Can you get kicked out if you're a little too wild? Could we see more virtual fans in the future?
NBA announces that 300 fans each game will be invited to be "virtual fans" on the 17-foot video boards that Michelob Ultra is sponsoring. pic.twitter.com/UwiEGJYhjB— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) July 24, 2020
Basketball is back! 🏀 We're proud to partner with the @NBA to bring the virtual fan experience to life with Together mode.July 31, 2020
0 Positive COVID tests, virtual fans, social protest, no league is nearly as good as the NBA.— Ben Stinar (@BenStinar) July 30, 2020
How to become a virtual fan on nba??— Sam Johnson (@samjohnson) July 27, 2020
The NBA really has virtual fans in the stands. Bruh.... pic.twitter.com/zmGYEHGra3— Dr. Tara L. Conley (@taralconley) July 31, 2020
What if someone showed this to you one year ago and all they said was “the NBA returned to its season in a bubble and all the fans are virtual” what would you think was going on?
What a time. pic.twitter.com/pBS5jWS1sI— Eryn Pittsonberger (@Eryn) July 30, 2020
NBA players competing in front of seats with virtual fans. We are finally in the future.— Hasani McIntosh (@HasaniMcIntosh5) July 31, 2020
What ya'll think of the virtual NBA fans? Yay or nay?— Power of A Dream (@WheelzSix) July 31, 2020
What process do I have to go through to be one of the virtual fans in the next nba game... I want to do goofy stuff for all the players to see— sammy wide eyes (@mrgivenofux) July 30, 2020
Chris Bosh pulled up to the Lakers-Clippers game as a virtual fan 😂 pic.twitter.com/rgjKKubLuW— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 31, 2020
So I was one of the ppl at work selected to be part of the NBA & Microsoft’s virtual fan experience for the Clippers vs Lakers game. This should be fun! Lol— Canada Dry Stan Account (@MsjasBrown) July 28, 2020
Big fan of the virtual fans. Where do I sign up ? @NBA— Erin Kate Dolan (@erinkatedolan) July 30, 2020
Ok i wanna be a virtual fan ..nba did it again #NBATwitter— puma (@Puma213) July 30, 2020
Those virtual fans.
This camera angle.
I can’t get over how much it looks like an NBA video game. pic.twitter.com/wKFhTsfvhp— Devin Heroux (@Devin_Heroux) July 30, 2020
how do I become a virtual fan for the NBA ????— mango 🥭 (@JessTheGemini) July 31, 2020
Ben Simmons on NBA having virtual fans cheering during games
“They better put some boos in there for us: because if we’re not playing hard, we want to hear those boos. But you can’t put a fan on a screen and replicate Sixers fans. We’re one of a kind” pic.twitter.com/TOzw49aujA— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) July 24, 2020
Does anyone know what the virtual NBA fans actually see during the games? Is it just the tv broadcast? I’ve been looking for this answer forever. #NBARestart— Patrick Wright (@ptwright) July 31, 2020
Okay the NBA virtual fan gimmick is cool— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) July 30, 2020
Say how i become a virtual fan @NBA I want catch a few games 🤷🏿♂️— Rashaun Claiborne (@Rashaun_01) July 31, 2020
MLB needs to figure out how to turn its cardboard fans into virtual fans. The NBA virtual fans look sharp!— Alicia Jessop (@RulingSports) July 30, 2020