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NBA Digital, jointly managed by the NBA and Turner Sports, is launching NBA TV, a 24-hour basketball channel previously only available through pay-TV providers, as its own standalone SVOD service, per a company press release. Basketball fans can now subscribe directly to NBA TV, which offers 100 out-of-market live games each season, for $7 a month (or $60 a year) and stream content via NBA.com or the NBA app.
The NBA’s newest offering follows a series of developments from sport leagues looking to expand distribution by bringing their content to digital platforms. For example, the NFL Network launched a $10-a-month mobile-only version of NFL RedZone for Verizon customers in August, and the MLB offers MLB.TV for $25 a month on desktop and connected-TV devices.
Both services offer live event coverage outside of traditional pay-TV. For its part, NBA TV will join an expanding portfolio of streaming options for NBA fans: NBA League Pass, the premium subscription offering, includes access to every game as well as live coverage of preseason and the NBA finals for $29 a month with ads, or $40 ad-free. Ultimately, the service will supply the league with critical information around its audience’s viewing habits, which could eventually inform its decision-making about its future on linear TV: The league’s TV rights will be up for renewal after the 2024-25 season.
Here’s why we think the NBA’s new service will succeed:
- It’s far more affordable than other options. Compared with NBA League Pass, NBA TV is substantially cheaper at $7 per month — $22 dollars cheaper. That could help draw in NBA fans who might have previously balked at the high price point of League Pass.
- It can appeal to younger fans. With the exception of MLS, the NBA has the youngest TV audience compared with every other US sport, with an average viewer age of 42, per Magna Global. By making NBA TV accessible to anyone with internet, the league can more effectively reach its younger fans, who are more likely to be cord-cutters or cord-nevers. The lower price point could also appeal to younger fans — like college students or recent graduates — who might have more limited budgets than older fans.
- Mobile-first, social enhancements. NBA TV will also include new enhanced viewing options, including new camera angles, with footage captured exclusively on smartphones, live on-screen group chats with NBA influencers, and statistical overlays of live game feeds. Further, integration with social media and influencer types could help the league take advantage of changing consumption habits: 28% of viewers say they actively use social media while watching TV content per Nielsen.
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