Digital Basketball Association, season 1: What do you need to know?

By Ian Levy
Screenshot, YouTube: SGK
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The Digital Basketball Association begins game play tomorrow, looking to change the world of sports forever.

What is the Digital Basketball Association (DBA)?

The Digital Basketball Association is a brand new sports league debuting this winter, the first to feature gameplay that is entirely simulated with no human players involved. Capitalizing on the explosive growth of esports over the past few years, and the increasing mainstream popularity of the NBA 2K League, the DBA offers an alternative to the models of both traditional and esports leagues.

How does it work?

The DBA will mimic the basic structure of the NBA -- 32 teams, 15 players to a roster -- and use the same rules for gameplay. However, each game will be entirely simulated using the computing power of Cuban Inc.'s Cyber Dust quantum mainframe. Think of it like watching an NBA 2K League game with both teams being controlled by a computer instead of a human player.

Each individual player has a crafted identity that includes skill ratings and a unique personality. However, that personality is confined entirely to the digital game environment. You don't have to look at pictures of these players' breakfasts on social media to keep up with the game, just watch them shoot, dunk and block shots.

Will people really watch this? Where can I check it out?

If you're a little freaked out by the idea of watching a video game that no one is actually playing, you're not alone. But the incredible advances in digital graphics make the games visually indistinguishable from ones with human players, and keeping everything in a digital environment makes it much easier to offer immersive virtual and augmented reality experiences to fans (now everyone can sit on the floor at center court). And the incredible computing power running behind the league is more than enough to replicate the inherent complexity of a human-played sporting event.

To check out the standard broadcasts as well as virtual and augmented reality viewing options, download the DBA app on your mobile device or embedded neuroprocessor.

Can I gamble on DBA games?

That's kind of the point, and certainly the primary driver of revenue here. With the contrived narratives of team-building and offseason movement stripped from the league, this is, in the words of DBA founder Frankie Muniz, "a purer form of basketball." Players and their skill sets are reduced to numeric algorithms and while the league provides a wide range of stats and analytic tools to fans, both within in broadcasts and on their custom app, there is just as much uncertainty as you'll find in any other sporting event.

Wagers can be placed in realtime right in the DBA app and a special feature allows fans to submit their own proposed prop bets with the Cyber Dust AI engine returning odds in fractions of a second.

Can this league really survive?

The DBA is breaking entirely new ground in the sports world and there are plenty of concerns about the level of engagement it will generate from fans. But it is a model with minuscule overheard compared to a traditional sports league and it eliminates concerns like injuries, human refereeing and an endemic lack of parity that have been points of frustration for fans for years. With the potential for massive and rapid gambling revenue and extremely low startup costs, this could be the future of sports.

The future begins on Monday, Oct. 28, 7:00 p.m. ET as the Serpents take on the Armadillos.

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