The final buzzer of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 rang with a much deeper meaning for Filipinos who witnessed the best players from around the world and immersed themselves in world-class hardcourt action in Manila, powered by FIBA’s 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 the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay to support their favorite players and teams.
Smart is the mobile network of choice for FIBA attendees
Understandably, Smart emerged as the mobile network of choice for 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 onto Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, the three top apps used by fans during the games. Smart made it much easier for local and foreign basketball fans to connect to the Smart network by making Prepaid SIMs and eSIMs available at Smart Stores and accredited retailers near the venues and airports.
“Whether at Araneta or MOA Arena, I enjoyed a seamless and hassle-free connection while posting on social media. I was able to share content in real-time, which caught the attention of several of my friends,” said Dan Reyes, a long-time Smart subscriber who watched the Serbia vs. China match at Araneta Coliseum and the Serbia vs. Lithuania match at MOA Arena.
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, creating one of the most awe-inspiring basketball tributes ever seen. The giant installation, measuring 1.5 meters in diameter inside a ring with a circumference of 111 meters, 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 excitement among 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 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
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 (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 game
Smart left no stone unturned when it came 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 on August 29, Smart and the US-based Radisys® Corporation, a subsidiary of Jio Platforms Limited, showcased the future of mobile streaming with a 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’s Global partner, Smart also provided Prepaid eSIMs to all the players, coaching staff, and delegates who flew to Manila for the tournament so they could stay connected with their loved ones back home.
FIBA and Smart renew 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 on the back of the excellent cooperation between both parties and Smart’s stellar promotional work for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.