Earlier this year when Basketball Australia and the National Basketball League announced a new television contract, it was met with a combination of excitement and skepticism.
The excitement was induced by the fact that NBL fans would once again be able to see live, primetime and free-to-air action on their television screens. The re-negotiated deal with TEN / ONE HD meant that one game will be shown live on Channel 10 on Sunday afternoons, whilst a second game would be shown at 9:30pm Fridays (delayed telecast) on ONE HD. All NBL Finals games will also be broadcast on Channel 10 and ONE.
In addition, the deal left open the intriguing option for the NBL to broadcast its games through whatever digital means it chose.
The skepticism from some fans was centred on the doubt that the league would do anything with those digital rights. Well, today those doubts have been shattered like a Jim Havrilla dunk.
The NBL has announced the launch of NBL.tv — a service that allows fans to watch every single 2012/13 game LIVE or ON DEMAND. Not only does it provide coverage of every NBL game, but it is available across a range of devices. Check out the list of features via the NBL press release:
– Every NBL game will be broadcast live via an NBL.TV subscription service for mobile, tablets, PCs and IPTV;
– Fans will be able to view television matches simulcast, plus all other NBL matches live anywhere and on any platform using a single login to NBL.TV;
– Games and highlights will be available on demand, giving fans the freedom to choose how and when they watch the NBL;
– PERFORM will produce five-camera live broadcasts of all NBL games not being shown by the league’s free-to-air television partner Network Ten and New Zealand broadcast partner; and
– The deal also includes production and distribution of national team games hosted in Australia – meaning fans can for the first time digitally access any home games played by the Boomers and Opals, subject to television broadcast arrangements.
This move makes basketball in Australia a true forerunner. Despite being regarded by many as a niche sport, hoops has jumped ahead of the likes of the NRL and AFL with this innovation. Fans have been dreaming of this type of access to the local sport for the past few years, with the growing popularity of the NBA League Pass and now they have it.
The full season subscription to NBL.tv is going for the bargain price of $79 — about the price of a slap-up meal at a restaurant in town. But if you get in before 23 September and simply register your interest, you will get the pre-register discount of $20, making it a $59 steal. By my quick reckoning that’s something like $0.53 per game to have access to the entire NBL season. You don’t really need to be a massive fan to make that level of investment.