Miami Heat and AT&T’s new digital art installation draws on custom data sets like games to create shareable and interactive artwork for fans

Fans can scan a QR code to switch between the four concepts and choose whether they want to see art or data, or both.Courtesy of the Miami Heat

For anyone who thinks the basketball pick-and-roll is a work of art, the Miami Heat have taken it literally.

A week ago Saturday night, the team unveiled a digital installation at Miami-Dade Arena that uses artificial intelligence and fiber technology to create generative, abstract art based on passes, player movement, shot graphics and jersey numbers.

Not only is this a growing form of NBA fan engagement powered by AT&T, but the accompanying QR codes make it interactive as well. This is the first AI to arrive at the Miami Arena since the original AI (Allen Iverson), and the kinetic images allow fans to see NBA basketball analysis in animation.

“It’s a whole new kind of ‘Heat Map’ designed to play on words to visualize a team’s offense,” said Rachel Garber, the team’s senior account manager of affiliate marketing.

The concept is called Connected Canvas, which relies on the speed and connectivity of AT&T Fiber to take custom data sets — like a player’s stats beyond the 3-point arc — and turn them into a game-changing art activation. The Heat’s business and marketing teams have been considering the project since 2021, in part because of its official relationship with AT&T and in part because, Garber says, they wanted to create a “wow moment for Miami.”

The unveiling took place on Saturday evening, January 14th at the AT&T East Plaza, which is located on the concourse of the arena and has a majestic view of Biscayne Bay and the cruise ships atop it. The Heat installed three Connected Canvas boards there, roughly 4 by 9 feet each, giving curious fans four options for digital art.

Their first step was to scan a QR code on the board, which allowed fans to switch between the four concepts and choose whether they wanted to see art or data, or both.

The No. 1 concept turned out to be the HEAT map, which uses AI to map each Heat player’s shots over the course of past games with animations that evolve in both color and size as players accumulate points. In other words, the data view is a high-tech chart, while the art view is the artificial intelligence rendering of the HEAT map.

“So let’s say a player is warming up with — no pun intended — his shots, it’s going to turn dark red,” Garber says. “And then when the zone kind of goes yellow-green, that’s where the shots in the game kind of die down. All of this data is collected from our NBA league partnership through AT&T and the Heat. And so we can show it on the digital scoreboard.”

Concept #2 is the Game Flow view, which encapsulates the Miami Heat’s up-tempo offense and their quick ball movement or pick-and-roll plays. The end result is a piece of kinetic sand art that is displayed through two large globes arranged vertically, matching the colors of the team’s various jerseys.

And concept #3 is just that: the jerseys. Dubbed the Jersey Mashup Machine, fans use their smartphones to activate motion tracking. They can choose a jersey type—a Miami Vice City Edition pink jersey or a championship gold jersey or a vintage Miami Floridians jersey—and see it simulated on the board as if they were wearing the jersey themselves. When they jump left, the artwork goes left. And vice versa if they flow to the right.

“So what’s displayed on your phone is mirrored on the digital dashboard,” says Garber. “And with that, the large 3D number that is displayed during this concept moves with you. So there is a motion camera. When standing in front of the camera, if you want to sway sideways or back and forth, the number will move with you. So the fan is part of the board almost in a way.”

One of the AI ​​art concepts available to fans is the Game Flow view, which encapsulates the Miami Heat’s up-tempo offense and their quick ball movement or pick-and-roll plays.Courtesy of the Miami Heat

The fourth concept is an as-yet-unreleased Cultural Tides activation featuring what Garber calls “Miami’s hidden gem neighborhoods, from South Beach to downtown to Hialeah. Using the work of local photographers, artificial intelligence transforms it into changing works of art to celebrate the diverse communities of Miami.

At the heart of it all is the Heat’s partnership with AT&T, which is the club’s 5G innovation partner and sponsors the team’s mobile app, its social features and its small business accelerator program.

The Connective Canvas artwork is the result of this relationship and a clear message that an NBA team and a corporate partner can make the game as aesthetic off the court as it is on the court through AI.

And no, not Allen Iverson.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *