With the defending champion Golden State Warriors and Drake's favorite team, the Toronto Raptors, set to face off in the NBA Finals starting Thursday, Snapchat has gifted hoops fans with a pair of augmented reality experiences.
For fans in attendance at the games, Snapchat users can scan the banners at each team's arena to access videos highlighting the team's triumphs throughout the season and post-season. According to a Snap spokesperson, fans in Toronto should look out for the "We The North" team banner, while the "47 Seasons" banner is the special treat for Bay Area fans.
The experience uses the same AR marker technology that Nike used for its in-store promotion for Lebron James, who is not appearing in the NBA Finals (unless it's as a guest commentator).
For fans in the rest of the country, Snapchat built a Lens Challenge that lets users show off which team they are pulling for. Available in the Lens Explorer or by scanning the Snapcode below, the NBA Finals Fan Cam asks basketball fans to choose their team and then overlays a virtual headband on their head through the camera view.
According to a company spokesperson, select fans who submit a Snap to the public via Our Story will appear on a virtual jumbotron in Snapchat.
The NBA has been a big fan of augmented reality in recent years. In addition to the league being an early adopter of ARKit and Magic Leap, several of its teams, including the Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, and Los Angeles Clippers, as well as the league's broadcast partner, TNT, have implemented augmented reality experiences to engage their fanbases.
So it's no surprise that Snapchat, a company that has its sights set on being a leader in augmented reality, is keen to leverage the NBA's AR interest and promote the climax of its season.