September 29, 2022
The NBA becomes the latest sports league to court digital viewers, launching an app for streaming, personalization and socializing. The app is free to download, and NBA League Pass will be integrated into the app, with promotional pricing of $14.99 per month ($99.99 per season) for a standard package and $19.99 per month ($129.99 per season) for a premium subscription. The NBA App is a product of NBA Digital, the league’s joint venture with Turner Sports, and was built in partnership with Microsoft, the NBA’s cloud and artificial intelligence partner.
“The league’s direct-to-consumer subscription offerings — NBA League Pass and NBA TV — will be integrated into the NBA App, giving fans the ability to watch live games and highlights and check scores, statistics and standings, all in one place,” the NBA said in its announcement. NBA League Pass subscribers will receive live streams at higher video quality and with lower streaming latency, the league says.
In addition to 24/7 NBA TV programming and out-of-market live games, NBA League Pass subscribers will have access to expanded options for “personalized viewing experiences through a wide variety of alternate streams, including additional camera angles, betting-focused streams, influencer-led and analytics-driven options” and feeds with commentary in Spanish, Portuguese or Korean.
Among the live programming and social-style content presented in the app will be a “gameday experience,” immersing fans in everything from pre- and post-game to press conferences, as well as lifestyle shows covering the culture, fashion, music and personalities on and off the court. ”CrunchTime” takes fans live to crucial moments of each game and provides real-time updates and analysis, while “NBABet stream” is a weekly look at the latest betting information during live game coverage.
“As users search for content, they’ll see vertical videos (like those on social media) displaying real-time highlights of all NBA games in progress,” writes Fierce Video, explaining that the direct-to-consumer subscription offerings are fully integrated for a seamless user experience that gives fans “the ability to watch live games and highlights and check scores, statistics and standings, all in one place.”
The new app launches “before the opening jump of the 2022-23 NBA season” on October 18, according to Forbes, noting “Microsoft’s artificial intelligence will help customize scoreboards and player stats for bettors and fantasy-league fanatics,” something NBA executive VP of direct-to-consumer Chris Benyarko says is “going to make watching live games a completely new experience.”
“Delivering a personalized experience is a tall order considering the league has a social media community of more than 2.1 billion people globally across league, team and player accounts,” Microsoft said in a news announcement that alludes to future presentation formats such as augmented reality and virtual reality.
In July, the NFL launched a DTC streaming product.