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New ways to experience the worlds of sports, music, and entertainment

a person sitting in front of a crowd

The global pandemic has highlighted amazing displays of human flexibility, creativity, and technical ingenuity. Unfortunately, many treasured group experiences like going to a sporting event, a concert, or a museum remain beyond reach for safety’s sake.

When you stop and think about it, live events and experiences transform human lives, and a large part of our ability to create a better future is born from real-time shared and collective experiences.

At Microsoft, we are working full steam ahead to reimagine the nature of live experiences, so whether you are watching a big game or listening to a virtuoso performance, it can feel like you are there, even if you are thousands of miles away.

Be there, be more engaged, and be safe

Microsoft is working with partners like the NBA, NFL, and iHeart Music to reimagine fan engagement within live experiences. We are deploying technologies like Microsoft Teams, Azure and Partner CDN, Data, Analytics, AI & Machine learning to reimagine live experiences so we all can re-engage with our favorite teams, stars, teachers, and each other as if we were there in person. It is our goal to remove distance as an impediment to feeling like you are actually there.

High-fives from a thousand miles away

Through technologies that increase real-time engagement across locations, time-zones, and continents, media and entertainment organizations are innovating fan and audience engagement experiences, all the while providing rich data feedback loops for customer care and product improvements. Imagine the excitement of a live broadcast NBA game where you and your family are in the “virtual” stands cheering your team on, and the entire nation can see you. You could high-five other fans virtually or even a player after a great play. This is the experience Microsoft is working with the NBA to re-imagine when it restarted games at the end of July.

You’re in the best seats in the house

Concerts are always better for those lucky few in the first few rows. Leveraging digital experiences, the music fan will have a chance to interact virtually through video and interactive elements with the amazing Usher. This will become an irresistible part of any performance. In September, Microsoft and Usher partnered with IHeartRADIO to introduce dynamic, distributed interactivity in a live concert, including the first-ever virtual ‘wave’ from the stage and delivered directly to hundreds of fans across the country with Usher actually waving directly to individual fans in their homes as if they were in the stadium with the superstar. And we are just getting started.

Reimagine your most powerful experiences

Enabling your company to differentiate itself strategically through dynamic, real-time distributed experiences requires a new type of partnership between the creative parts of an organization, technology teams, and outside partners. Focusing on delivering emotionally powerful live experiences can build new capabilities and efficiencies for your company. Using Microsoft Teams, Azure, Data/Analytics, and AI/ML, the traditional processes or workflows can be replicated digitally or even more deeply reimagined to deliver greater operational efficiency across the enterprise. Doing so allows companies to deploy their most engaging experiences to large-scale, distributed audiences in a manner that is as practical and as natural as producing and delivering a traditional, location-based event.

For Microsoft, sports, music, and entertainment experiences are just the beginning. We are reimagining live events of all types into shared virtual experiences or hybrid experiences, those that simultaneously include live real-world and fully virtual components. Rather than being put on pandemic hiatus, events like these can continue virtually and bring a powerful emotional energy and feeling of truly being there. Across the company, we are working together to create easy-to-use and easy-to-deploy technologies that will make many collective experiences sidelined by the pandemic possible again.

Another example of our innovation in digital events is exemplified by being selected by the CTA to deliver CES 2021 on Microsoft platforms.

“It is an extreme honor for Microsoft to be selected as CTA’s technology partner for CES, the world’s most influential technology event. It won’t surprise you to hear we’re bringing Microsoft Cloud solutions, including Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Power Platform, together with partner solutions to create the technology platform for the all-digital event that will bring together the entire global tech community and be the CES 2021 experience.” Bob Bejan, CVP, Global events, production studios, and marketing community.

Helping media and entertainment companies to reimagine more robust, high-fidelity live experiences is a driving passion of ours. Microsoft has the technology and the people to support and collaborate with you every step of the way in building the next generation of live experiences. In short, we want your audiences to feel like they are there, safely at a distance, but together.

Learn more about intelligent media and entertainment to see how the capabilities of our solutions have empowered creativity, streamlined workflows, and deepened audience engagement for the likes of Mr. X, Dentsu Aegis Network, the BBC, Real Madrid, and Thomson Reuters.