Making games widely available always NBA's priority, says exec | Inquirer Sports

Making games widely available always NBA’s priority, says exec

By: - Online Sports Editor / @CFColinaINQ
/ 04:54 PM October 24, 2023

A basketball is placed on the court next to an NBA logo during a break in the first half of a 2023 NBA Summer League game

A basketball is placed on the court next to an NBA logo during an 2023 NBA Summer League game.  Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

MANILA, Philippines–Being one of the most popular leagues in the world is not stopping the NBA from trying to further extend its global reach as the new season opens this week.

The NBA said that making the games available to the widest audience possible remains the league’s top priority amid the fast-changing landscape of media through its digital offerings. But it is also determined to keep its roots in traditional TV consumption.

“That’s our goal. Our plan is to make sure that we have our games as widely available as possible to the most number of fans that we can,” said NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum in a call with international media ahead of the 78th season which opens on October 25 (Manila time).

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“And that would mean that the mix between free-to-air, if you will. And digital has to be there,” he added.

Tatum said the NBA acknowledges the rise of cord-cutting–where audiences turn their backs on traditional TV in favor of streaming services–even in the context of sports viewership.

“What that means in the younger generation–because of the cord cutting is–we have to be digital, in some way, shape, or form. And those have to be available around the world,” said Tatum.

“We’ve been doing that through our NBA League Pass and different digital partnerships in different parts of the world.”

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NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum. –NBA HANDOUT

FILE–NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum. –NBA HANDOUT

In the Philippines, select NBA games are aired on both free TV and cable channels starting from the regular season including the All-Star weekend up to the playoffs and the Finals through the league’s partnership with Cignal.

As part of this TV deal, the media network has also been producing localized NBA content for Filipino fans and tapping local broadcasters to call select games.

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The NBA League Pass, the league’s live game subscription service which streams most if not all NBA games, is also available to Philippine subscribers with monthly and annual subscriptions and several local payment options available.

In line with the league’s vision to make the games accessible to all demographics of fans, the NBA also made available a Student Plan for League Pass which offers discounts for students attending accredited universities and colleges in the Philippines starting this season.

NBA will also be introducing a Watch Party feature later on, allowing NBA League Pass subscribers to watch a synchronized broadcast with up to four other fans on video chat.

“Our goal really here is to make sure that our games are available to the widest number of people available,” Tatum said.  “So we’ll continue to explore all the different ways in which we can make sure that our content is available in their language and accessible to our fans around the world.”

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The NBA returns on Thursday with match-ups pitting defending champion Denver Nuggets against Los Angeles Lakers; and Golden State Warriors against Phoenix Suns.

TAGS: NBA

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