Google To Pay Rights Fee In Low Six Figures To Stream NBA D-League Games This Year
Google has agreed to pay the NBA a rights fee in the low six figures to stream 350 NBA D-League games live this season. NBA officials describe the one-year deal as an "experiment" and say they will be focused on the number of streams and advertising revenue (which will be sold by YouTube) that is generated from the games. "This is a recognition that a new generation of fans are spending an increasing amount of time on the Internet and, in particular, on YouTube," said NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver. The games will be made available through a D-League channel that is being launched to coincide with the start of the season. Games can be seen on YouTube or via a YouTube video player on NBA.com and team websites. The NBA says the deal will see the D-League produce more live games on YouTube than other major professional sports leagues. The deal also is important, as it gives the NBA a chance to test YouTube's delivery platforms years before its media rights deals with ESPN and Turner expire in '16. "Do we think Google-YouTube will bid for rights in 2016? It's uncertain," Silver said. "I've learned not to try and predict the future in this business. ... The fact that Google is paying a rights fee for live sports definitely gets our attention." The D-League has long served as a laboratory for the NBA to test new products and rules. Last year, the D-League tested new LED stanchion signage before the NBA teams this year adopted the new signs to gain another sponsorship related revenue stream. The D-League in the past has tested lightweight uniforms now worn by NBA teams and also served as a testing ground for the ill-fated synthetic basketball that was rejected by NBA players. The league this year is testing new rules, including using a three-minute overtime instead of the NBA's current five-minute session.