Verizon Communications and the National Basketball Association have struck an agreement which will see the relationship between the two extended beyond the streaming of league games to creation of content as well as availing augmented and virtual-reality fan experiences. The deal will also see Verizon provide a subscription package consisting of regular season games numbering over 1,100 on all platforms via Yahoo Sports.
To get the League Pass package will cost $99 and this is half of what consumers pay when they subscribe to regular pay television distributors. Verizon will make up the difference by serving ads to audiences. At the moment League Pass is restricted to the go90 platform of Verizon.
No other wireless carrier will be allowed to provide League Pass subscriptions as the deal gives Verizon exclusivity. Fans of the NBA who are not customers of Verizon will still be able to obtain League Pass subscriptions via Yahoo Sports. Watching the NBA games will however not be limited to smartphones as consumers will also be able to access via computers and tablets.
According to sources the deal is worth approximately $0.4 billion which is the same amount that Verizon paid in a previous deal. Yahoo and Verizon will also be making an investment of $25 million that will go towards the development of new fan experiences.
Other than the streaming of games the NBA and Verizon Communications will jointly develop original content which is aimed at complementing coverage of the games. ‘NBA Daily Run’ is the first effort by the two and is expected to become available for audiences later in the season.
AR and VR
The NBA and Verizon will also make use of the latter’s 5G technology to offer high-bandwidth services that include virtual and augmented reality. The artificial intelligence technology of Verizon will for instance be used to develop a deputy general manager responsible for assisting owners of fantasy teams in selecting and managing their players.
“We are granting them greater rights to do more and we’re working with them to create a greater variety of content. This is a very important deal for us from a content, innovation and financial perspective,” the media distribution and global content president at the NBA, Bill Koenig, said.
Verizon’s deal with the NBA is part of the carrier’s strategy to acquire sports content rights for its Yahoo portal. Last month for instance the wireless carrier inked a $2 billion deal with the NFL allowing it to stream games on Yahoo, go90 as well as its mobile network.