NBA InPlay

NBA InPlay is an exciting at-home game that fans can play in real time while watching NBA games.

FanDuel wanted to engage home viewers with a colorful, compelling experience that directly connects NBA fans to what’s happening on their screens.

Using innovative digital audio technology, NBA InPlay redefines real-time fantasy basketball gaming.

  • Mobile Product Development
  • UX Strategy
  • Audio Technology
  • Unity
  • Websockets
  • Watermarking
  • Nielsen
  • Firebase
  • Amplify Analytics

On average, NBA InPlay players watch 26 more minutes per game

Users play real-time fantasy basketball (picking players, earning points, and competing to win prizes) against friends, co-workers, or other fans across the country.

NBA InPlay users sync their device to the audio of a NBA game and play along with it live. You join a public or private game, choose one of the teams in the match-up, then draft a player each quarter from that team. Scores reflect what the active player is doing on the court — including baskets, rebounds, steals, blocks, assists and turnovers.

New audio sync technology was tested in several (loud) environments

The “Turbo” feature relies on the audio signal, and it’s where the fun begins. Users choose an opportune time to activate a 48-second Turbo, then earn points for all players from their selected team on the court, plus a multiplier for the active player. 

This heightened strategic element keeps users engaged through the entire game (even if the score is lopsided).

Broadcast signals include time-stamped watermarks that the game needed to “hear.” Hours of live play testing, mainly at night, were necessary to improve the latency (cable, satellite, and terrestrial TV all have varying delays from the live event). 

Design, development, QA, and submission all happened in under 16 weeks

Technical complexities ran headfirst into a tight deadline: NBA InPlay’s release date, December 25th, was one of the biggest basketball viewership days of the year.

Built in Unity and set in a dynamic environment, the result was a rich, seamless gaming experience. The app’s spectacular design incorporates player photographs, team colors, and content.

Additional features include a leaderboard and prizing for public games. Eventually NBA InPlay will feature longer-term contests, so we’ve added Facebook integration in order to maintain user stats long-term.