NBA Is Pressing Into Broadband

Oct 16, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The NBA will stream all of its games this season as part of a revamp of the league’s Web site that will feature a big increase in broadband video.

The games will be available through its NBA League Pass. Fans who buy the out-of-market game package through their cable or satellite provider will also receive access to the games via broadband at no extra charge.

The NBA tested the broadband service during the final months of last season and decided to offer it for the full season this year.

“It’s part of taking care of our best fans,” said Steve Grimes, senior VP of Interactive Services for NBA Entertainment, who said the streaming games will not carry any extra advertising.

The NBA League Pass package will be supported with an ad campaign featuring several of the league’s biggest stars, including Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kirk Hinrich of the Chicago Bulls.

Spots will appear on networks that carry NBA games, including NBA TV, ABC, TNT, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic. Cross-channel spots will appear on satellite and digital cable systems affiliated with iN Demand Networks. Print ads will also support the package.

The new design of NBA.com, which will be unveiled Tuesday, will focus on broadband. The site, which streamed 165 million video clips last year, will offer even more highlights and other features this year, Mr. Gaines said.

NBA.com features video channels dedicated to each of the league’s 30 teams, giving users quick access to materials about their favorite squad.

Google, iTunes in Play

Last season, the league sold longer highlight packages for each game through Google and iTunes, Mr. Grimes said. Those deals have expired, but he said the league is in conversations with those companies and others about providing highlights again this season.

The NBA is also working with Turner Broadcasting on “TNT Overtime,” a special post-game show featuring TNT broadcast team members Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Steve Kerr, John Thompson and Ernie Johnson that’s exclusive to broadband.

The site also features a pumped-up fantasy sports section, including a Fantasy Resource Center, new fantasy games, statistical comparison and expert player evaluations.

Online fans will be able to interact with the site through the site’s Fan Voice section.

The NBA is also launching international Web sites for Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.