I’m in New Orleans for the annual NBA Tech Summit Friday morning, writing this in the corner of an oddly low-key Electronic Arts (NSDQ: ERTS) party at Republic in the lit-up warehouse district. The main event: an NBA Live 08 tournament featuring eight NBA players (including winner Tony Parker, Deron Williams, Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge) playing in a setting similar to a living room but with DJ Clark Kent providing the music. Honestly can’ tell you much about the matches but the game does look slick and darn close to real, even on the largest of the screens. One reason for the feel — NBA shot data was used to highlight the locations on the floor where players are most effective.
As for tomorrow, the invite-only Tech Summit will be off the record as usual, unless participants agree to be quoted — and I’m pretty sure of a few who will. I’ll also have a bit of news for those interested in broadband video quality. Among those on the very full panels moderated by Turner’s Wolf Blitzer, Soledad O’Brien and Ernie Johnson : James Dolan (Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), MSG, Knicks); Jason Hirschhorn (Sling); John Skipper (ESPN); David Levy (Turner); Mark Cuban; Gideon Yu (Facebook); Denmark West (BET); Bob Johnson (founder, BET, Bobcats); Magic Johnson. Anderson Cooper is interviewing FCC Chairman Kevin Martin on the future of communications and content. Other topics include the impact of globalization, social media and sports, and the way changes in distribution to multiple screens are affecting the economics of sports programming.
On another note, it’s hard to believe but this trip to New Orleans is my first since the CTIA before Hurricane Katrina changed life here … if you go straight to Canal Street from the airport at night, as I did this evening, it looks like business as usual, especially with the NBA here for the long All-Star Weekend. And yet, I know that just beyond my periphery it is so very different, that while the parties go on this weekend — supporting an economy that needs it — people not too far from here are still without homes.