The National Basketball Association (NBA) has announced a series of digital and broadcasting innovations for the 2020/21 season, which is due to commence tomorrow.
Updates to existing platforms such as League Pass have been confirmed, in addition to the launch of three alternative streams, including a gambling channel.
‘NBA BetStreams’, which will be made available to US-based League Pass and NBA TV subscribers, will see league partners such as Bleacher Report, Action Network and Yahoo Sports take over gambling-oriented broadcasts, with overlays featuring betting odds displayed throughout.
Both the official NBA app and website have also been updated; additional streams have been added to League Pass, the Association’s over-the-top (OTT) platform, and the new season will also see the introduction of interactive match overlays and the option for fans to download matches for offline viewing.
Many of these innovations are based on the fan engagement tools developed and used by the NBA at the biosphere bubble at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, during the 2019/20 season.
NBA Head of next generation telecasts, Sara Zuckert, told USA Today: “Orlando gave us the opportunity to innovate in a way that we never had before, and really to expedite a lot of the different testing we had already planned to do.
“Normally, we would’ve used Summer League and some of our other testing grounds to do these things as one-offs. But this was just a way to bring a lot of this to light.”
Other developments retained after successful trials in Orlando include the ‘Sideline Stream’, which includes popular alternate angles such as Rail Cam and Courtside Cam, and the ‘Influencers Stream’, which will feature popular social media personalities presenting a weekly game on League Pass.
The new NBA season is set to begin tomorrow, having been pushed back significantly due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and has also been reduced to 72 games.