The Australian National Basketball League has become the first major sporting organisation in the country to offer an online streaming subscription to all its games for an entire season. The new site, NBL.TV is open now for fans to pre-register their interest for the service, which will be available when the new season starts on 5 October. Fans who pre-register will get the new service for $59 as an early-bird special (valid until 23 September), while the regular price of the service will be $79 for the season. A monthly pass will be available for $19.
As part of the service, fans will get to watch matches through live streams either on a computer, phone or tablet (although no mention of Android support has been mentioned yet, only iPhone and iPad devices), and they will also get the ability to watch highlights and replays on demand. The service is an official one by the NBL and is a deal between the league and PERFORM Media Australia. It will be effective from the start of the 2012/13 season, but it's said to be a multi-year partnership.
In a release today, the NBL stated that PERFORM will be producing five-camera broadcasts of all games that won't be shown on Network TEN and on New Zealand TV. Network TEN has an agreement with the NBL to show one live game nationally every Sunday afternoon, as well as one game per round at a time of 9.30pm. The online deal complements this coverage and is said to be the first time in history that every game of the National Basketball League will be broadcast and available to watch live or on demand.
The NBL has fallen on hard times recently, compared to its halcyon days back in the early-to-mid 1990s, and the NBL hopes that this new deal will not only provide better access to fans and potential fans across the country and abroad, but also generate more revenue for the league and offer better opportunities for sponsors to come on board. Basketball Australia CEO, Kristina Keneally, said that NBL.TV will be a "league-owned platform rather than one owned by a rights-holder — so the NBL will retain control of its own broadcast product and benefit directly from the revenue generated by it. It gives us a major new revenue stream, as well as an attractive new proposition for sponsors".
The AFL is other Australian sporting league to have ventured into live streaming broadcasts of all of its games. However, its LIVESPORT.TV service is not available to Australian residents, but only to users who reside overseas. The NBL's service bears similarity to the National Basketball Association's LeaguePass Broadband service, which, like the NBL offering announced today, allows fans to watch every single game of the season live and on demand.
National games for the Australian Boomers and Opals basketball teams will also be shown through the new service, as long as television broadcast agreements allow the NBL to do so.