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Become a Virtual Fan to Support your Favorite Teams

By Matteo Herrera 

Are you a true basketball fan? If you are, then why haven’t you been supporting your team virtually. You have a chance to be on live TV, or even sit court-side, next to celebrities like Lil Wayne, Dwayne Wade, Shaquille O’Neal, and many more. On top of that, it is entirely free; you just have to be lucky since there are limited seats available for each game. Here, I’ll explain the primary way to get on the big screen:

First, you’re going to need a computer or a device that can run an application called Microsoft Teams. Make a login with a username and password. Once entered, click on the calendar, which would be on the left side of the screen. Double click on the game of your liking, although the zoom will not be activated until 60 minutes before the game’s commencement. 

As soon as you get the game invitation, click the “Join” button and patiently wait for the moderator to allow you in. Make sure your camera and microphone are on (if it’s not on, how are they going to be able to see you), click on “Participant List,” then right-click on “Game Feed” to select “Pin,” which will lock the game feed for your view. To better frame the game, click on “Fit to Frame” to adjust to your device’s size. Lastly, click on “Together Mode” so you can see the section you are in to catch yourself on the video boards and live TV.

The other way is to go straight to your team’s website. For example, the Miami Heat have a registration form set up on the site. You will know if the registration was successful by email. 

The third option is to follow Michelob Ultra, yes, the beer, on any social media platform. You have to enter into their raffle for a chance to win. Their most recent one is a chance to win two virtual court-side seats to the NBA Finals, so enter soon. The sooner, the better. 

There are some obvious rules, such as only one person in a virtual seat, so it doesn’t cluster the  17-foot-long LED screen which is around the court and the benches of each team. You are not allowed to say offensive language or behave in an unethical way, and no signs or messages are inappropriate. Lastly, people are not allowed to distribute game data or other content of the game. If any of these rules are broken, they will be kicked out of the moderator’s Zoom immediately. Although, you will be kicked out for not showing your face on the screen. So if a fan isn’t present for a long time, they will either be reassigned or kicked out. 

“Virtual fans in the NBA is a great idea, especially with the time we live in right now, sports are the only thing that makes us feel normal again” said Luke Delaney, University of Tampa senior criminology major. “Times are changing, and we need to find new ways to support sports.” Delaney seemed thrilled for the chance to possibly sit next to a celebrity during a game, “Sitting next to someone famous would probably be the thing you talk about for the next few weeks; imagine saying to your friends, yeah I was virtually sitting next to Drake while cheering on Toronto in the playoffs.” 

“It seems sort of awkward having fans on screens in the arena,” said Thomas Clark, a junior entrepreneurship major. “But also it’s probably better than nothing or empty seating, plus celebrities do it too and it’s fun to see who’s watching.” 

Jake Cantafio, a sophomore communication major stated, “It’s a cool solution to not having fans attend games in person, I would do it.”

The NBA has been able to adjust to whatever has been thrown at them. They knew having fans attend the games during the pandemic would never work. It would’ve been hypocritical since they are living in a “bubble.” Having different people in and out of the campus it would’ve popped the bubble. So the brains of the business came up with the idea of having fans attend the games at their home’s comfort.

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