Twitter lands contract with NBA for original live programming

Twitter Inc. and the NBA have signed a deal that will give the microblogging service two new, exclusive shows to stream, as well as additional video, the organizations said Tuesday.

One of the shows will be a weekly live-streamed NBA pregame show that will be available exclusively via Twitter. The league is to announce another show before the start of the 2016-2017 season that will also be exclusive to Twitter.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called Twitter “an ideal destination for real-time sports conversations,”

“This expanded partnership will help feed our fans’ growing demand for the NBA by more deeply integrating the league across Twitter’s many platforms,” he said in a statement.

Through the partnership, the NBA will also create additional video for Twitter, Vine and Periscope. 

Both the NBA and Twitter declined to comment on the terms of the deal.

This deal continues Twitter’s foray into live-streaming sports.

Last week, the San Francisco company said it reached a deal with Pac-12 Networks to live-stream at least 150 collegiate sports events during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Twitter also live-streamed the finals of the Wimbledon tennis tournament, and in the spring it reached a deal with the NFL to start live-streaming Thursday night football games.

Analysts said live-streaming events, especially sports, is a way for Twitter to attract new users and advertisers. 

“Sports typically does really well on Twitter,” said Neil Doshi, senior analyst at Mizuho Securities USA. “I think marrying the live video plus the ability to tweet with their friends … on sporting events is a unique match.”

Unlike other sports deals Twitter has struck recently, this one does not include rights to stream games live. But the NBA partnership’s focus on shows can be seen as a first step, said T. Bettina Cornwell, professor of marketing at the University of Oregon.

“Real-time engagement is something that the sport sees as valuable to increasing their fans’ interest,” she said. “I think this is an investment in the future.”

samantha.masunaga@latimes.com

For more business news, follow me @smasunaga


UPDATES:

11:10 a.m.: This article was updated with comments from the NBA, Twitter, analyst Neil Doshi and marketing professor T. Bettina Cornwell. 

This article was originally published at 7:45 a.m.

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