The final buzzer to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 rang with a much deeper meaning for Filipinos who witnessed the best players from all over the world and immersed in world-class hardcourt action in Manila, powered by FIBA global partner Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart).
After setting a new attendance record on opening day with 38,115 fans at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, hundreds of thousands more flocked to the rest of the games at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City and Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay to root for their favorite players and teams.
Smart is the mobile network of choice of FIBA goers
Ahead of the tournament, Smart teamed up with technology partners Huawei and Ericsson to further expand and permanently optimize its LTE and 5G mobile network coverage across all venues.
Understandably, Smart emerged as the mobile network of choice of fans with up to 59 percent of live attendees relying on their Smart-powered SIMs and eSIMs to share real-time updates and upload online content on the fly, according to an internal report covering the Phase 1 games from Aug. 26 to Sept. 3.
Filipinos’ love for basketball spilled over on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, the three top apps used by fans during the games. Smart made it so much easier for local and foreign basketball fans to latch on to the Smart network by making available Prepaid SIMs and eSIMs at Smart Stores and accredited retailers near the venues and airports.
“Whether at Araneta or MOA Arena, I enjoyed seamless and hassle-free connection while posting on social media. I was able to share content in real-time, which got several of my friends’ attention,” said Dan Reyes, a long-time Smart subscriber, who watched the Serbia vs China match at Araneta Coliseum and Serbia vs Lithuania match at MOA Arena.
Larger-than-life basketball tributes
Smart pulled out all the stops to bring epic basketball fan experiences to subscribers. Ten days before the games, Smart transformed the MOA Ball into a giant basketball with a hoop for one of the most awe-inspiring basketball tributes ever seen. The giant installation — measuring 1.5 meters in diameter, inside a ring with 111 meters in circumference — officially signaled the country’s all-out efforts to kick off the hosting of the FIBA World Cup 2023, as well as the larger-than-life passion and energy that Filipinos have for basketball.
Smart also drummed up the excitement of fans by unveiling an interactive LED billboard with a massive basketball ring and augmented reality integration along EDSA, complete with a QR code allowing fans to view FIBA stars’ signature moves on their smartphones. Smart also took it a step further with an interactive 3D Billboard featuring the FIBA official mascot JIP at Bonifacio Global City (BGC), captivating fans and spectators.
Epic basketball fan experiences
Smart helped mount an epic street festival at BGC for the FIBA Draw. Aside from the live viewing of the much-awaited draw, fans were treated to a concert, games, and other exciting activities.
Moreover, subscribers were given a chance to own a piece of basketball history as Smart unveiled limited-edition Gilas Prepaid Cards, and FREE collectible non-fungible tokens or NFTs exclusive to Smart subscribers.
During the tournament, basketball fans trooping to the venues enjoyed awesome augmented reality activities, such as the Smart Quiz, Smart Shirt Blast, and Smart Power Dribble Cam for a shot at winning premium tickets, exciting prizes, and limited-edition merchandise.
Real-time access to all FIBA games
Smart left no stone unturned when it comes to using technology to bring FIBA closer to every Filipino. As a huge treat, Smart gave all its subscribers FREE access to all FIBA games via the Smart LiveStream App. By downloading the app and connecting to the Smart mobile network, fans could stream the games live anytime, anywhere, or replay and relive all the FIBA hardcourt action.
Smart also introduced GILAS POWER 399, a prepaid data pack that comes with 78 GB valid for 30 days, including access to FIBA World Cup Games via the Smart LiveStream App.
During the Gilas vs. Italy game last Aug. 29, Smart and US-based Radisys® Corporation, a subsidiary of Jio Platforms Limited, showcased the future of mobile streaming with its beta test of Smart LiveStream App’s groundbreaking new features, enabling select Smart users to enjoy 360 viewing, live chat, and viewing party features.
As FIBA Global partner, Smart also provided Prepaid eSIMs to all the the players, coaching staff, and delegates who flew to Manila for the tournament so they may stay connected with their loved ones back home.
FIBA and Smart renews global partnership
FIBA and Smart have also renewed their Global Partnership for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2027 in Qatar.
The four-year extension comes off the back of the excellent cooperation between both parties, as well as Smart’s stellar promotional work for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.
While the main focus of the Global Partnership has been on the Philippines as co-hosts of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, it’s now set to go much wider.
In this next phase of the collaboration, Smart will reach out to Filipinos all over the world with promotional campaigns, while there are many more exciting plans still to be unveiled.
The new partnership agreement secures Smart’s further enhancements, including additional exclusive rights in the areas of digital and live streaming. They will be the presenting partner of ‘Chat Parties’ hosted on respective FIBA competition websites, the FIBA official mobile digital and media application for the competition or another official FIBA digital media channel, which are accessible to users located in the Philippines.
Smart will enjoy graphic integration on the live stream of official draws of FIBA competitions as well as youth competitions, in addition to being the presenting partner of the FIBA ‘Power Rankings’.
The renewal was revealed at an announcement ceremony during the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Final in Manila.
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