Op-Ed by Norm: What The ArchViz Industry Can Learn From the NBA

Thursday February 4, 2021

In my interview with Fabio Palvelli, I touched on the idea that as an industry, ArchViz should look to the example of the NBA. The NBA is on fire. Attendance is up. Revenues are way up. Every single franchise is worth at least $1B USD. Players are more competitive than ever. And most importantly – the fans are getting the best experience ever. So what can we learn from this as artists, studio owners, and as a collective industry?


A big part of the NBA’s success is happy and growing fan base. It’s done a great job of engaging fans in core markets. At the same time, the NBA has also developed a huge international following. In order for any industry to be successful, it needs an audience.

Architectural Visualization has similar potential. Although architecture, interior design, and real estate have always been our core markets, there are countless other possibilities – aviation, automotive, nautical, consumer goods, product staging, and on and on. As we reach into more areas, our industry will grow and we’ll all benefit. 


The players are a critical component in the evolution of the NBA. Look at the development from Dr. J, to Michael Jordan, to Lebron James, and most recently Giannis Antetokounmpo. With each generation, players have gotten faster, stronger, and most importantly, healthier. Consider Kawhi Leonard. He won the championship with Toronto in 2019 while sitting out a quarter of the regular season in order to maintain his optimal condition. 

As artists, we need to adopt a similar mentality. It’s not about winning at all costs any more. It’s about the long game. Artists need to be constantly learning, training, and improving. And we need to realize that rest is a huge component of any development program. 


The NBA has structured itself in a way that allows every team to be successful. Although markets like Miami, Boston, and NYC are obviously the most lucrative, teams like Toronto (go Raptors!) and Milwaukee can also compete and win. NBA teams thrive in a competitive environment. Every team is able to access the resources necessary to put a winning team together. 

You see a similar thing happening in ArchViz. There are countless teams in places all over the world. Many of today’s most promising studios are from the most unexpected places. And with a plethora of online resources, it’s never been easier to step our game up. Access to resources makes every studio more competitive. And competition makes the whole industry stronger. 


None of the NBA’s success would be possible without the leadership and co operation of the team owners. Although they obviously want to win as individual teams, the owners also realize that the league itself has to be successful. By making the league successful, all the owners benefit.

This is where ArchViz has the most learning to do. The NBA is successful because it focuses on putting out the best possible product. It focuses on growing in all aspects of its business: audience, talent, and revenues. Continued growth requires more of all three. At the moment, too many ArchViz studio owners take the easy route by offering artificially low prices to capture market share. This robs your team of the resources it needs to grow and subsequently limits your audience. By undercutting your competition, you’re also undercutting yourself and the industry as a whole. We should instead be working together to ladder up. A healthy and vibrant industry will return added value to all studios.

Let’s grow our “league”.