Twitter builds on live sports streaming with NBA player cam
James R | On 14, Jan 2019
Twitter is adding to its live sports line-up with a new NBA deal that will introduce an experimental new player cam.
A new agreement between the NBA, Turner Sports and Twitter will see the second half of 20 games this season live-streamed on Twitter, but with a new perspective: the isolated camera will feature a single-player, with fans voting for the player they want to see. The footage will be streamed on @NBAonTNT’s account for select regular-season and playoff games that are also airing normally on TNT, as well as 2019’s NBA All-Star Game on 17th February.
The stream will only be available in the USA, but it marks Twitter’s evolving strategy as it attempts to position itself as a video platform alongside Facebook Watch. Twitter’s tactic now seems to be centred around complementing, rather than competing with, traditional TV viewing, expanding the footprint of live sports broadcasts with a second screen option. That also means that it doesn’t have to pay up the kind of fees that has seen Amazon bag the rights to Premier League football.
“We’re not here to encroach on the rights of our partners,” Kay Madati, global VP and head of content partnership at Twitter, told Variety, after the deal was announced at CES.
The NBA, meanwhile, wants to build up engagement on the social network, having amassed the largest Twitter community of any sports league in the world, with 27.5 million followers.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement: “The NBA Twitter community is among the most vibrant in sports and entertainment. While watching NBA games on TNT, our fans on Twitter can now enjoy a unique second screen experience that will further enhance the way fans engage with each other and the game.”
The NBA will continue to provide on-demand video from its Twitter account, including warm-ups, in-game and post-game highlights plus behind-the-scenes content.
Twitter has also renewed its agreement with Fox Sports for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, which will include a live news and highlights show, plus every goal tweeted from Fox Sports’ account shortly after it is scored.
Twitter has also inked a deal to expand its streaming of the PGA Trou, with almost 140 hours of live competition from 28 tournaments streaming during the 2018-19 season, including (for the first time) weekend play. Much like the NBA streaming, Twitter is also placing a focus on interaction, with Fan Vote Fridays letting the PGA Tour vote to choose one of the two featured groups that will be streamed.