SBD/December 13, 2017/Media

NBA To Air Select G League Games On Twitch For Remainder Of '17-18 Season

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The NBA has struck a short-term partnership with social video service Twitch to live stream up to six G League games per week for the rest of the ’17-18 season, as well as highlights and on-demand feeds. Twitch, which is popular in the esports community, will enable a variety of enhanced features to the G League live streams, including customized graphical overlays and co-streaming in which chosen Twitch community members will be able to offer their own game commentaries. The co-streaming option will allow for a variety of alternate takes on the G League games, including potentially more analytical or humorous takes or foreign-language discussions. The live games on Twitch will begin on Friday. Financial terms were not disclosed, but sources said Twitch paid the NBA an undisclosed rights fee. Both the NBA and Twitch will sell advertising against the G League content. There is no commitment beyond this season. Amazon-owned Twitch showed "TNF" on Dec. 7 and has also done deals in '17 to air the Interactive Football League and Lucha Libre AAA wrestling. A source said the platform is actively pursuing more second- and third-tier sports packages. Twitch Senior VP/Content Michael Aragon similarly said that “given sports of all kinds represent an adjacent interest to our community, we are always open to discussing possibilities with other leagues.” Last season, Facebook had a deal for the G League, with the platform streaming around 520 games.

STREAMS TO BOOST USER ENGAGEMENT: The G League streams will include a variety of other enhancements aimed at boosting user engagement, including potential elements such as in-game polling. “We see this as a real laboratory for experimentation for us, to play with different types of game presentations,” said NBA VP/Global Media Distribution Jeff Marsilio. “We’ve used the G League as a testing ground for a lot of new things, and this partnership continues in that spirit.” The deal comes after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in September said that the future of league broadcasts could include more interactive elements that are available on outlets such as Twitch. “We are always in the market for new ideas to enhance the production, distribution, and consumption of our game,” said G League President Malcolm Turner. “It is a fluid topic. We can learn and track some things. Basketball has been televised roughly the same way for decades. For us, it helps inform how fans will consume our game in the future whether it’s the G League and beyond.”
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