Verizon and the NBA have set an expanded, multi-year partnership that will allow U.S. fans to buy and stream live, out-of-market games via NBA League Pass on Yahoo Sports and other Verizon media platforms.
Like Verizon’s recent NFL deal, the pact disrupts the long-established distribution pattern for a major sports league. NBA League Pass, run with the help of Turner, had previously served as a customer draw for cable and satellite providers, in the vein of NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV. Unlike those offerings, the new Verizon package won’t require a full TV bundle subscription.
The team-up also includes enhanced fantasy and highlights packages on Yahoo and across Verizon’s other media brands. Starting with NBA All-Star Game on February 18 at L.A.’s Staples Center, the league and Verizon said in a press release they will “unveil a series of innovative collaborations” showcasing the telco’s 5G network and tech tools such as augmented reality.
“Verizon is uniquely positioned to partner with the NBA in a first of-its-kind technology and content partnership that will serve the NBA’s dynamic fan base with more live action, fantasy and lifestyle content in addition to experiential opportunities in the U.S. and globally through Yahoo Fantasy,” said Brian Angiolet, SVP and global chief media and
content officer at Verizon. “With the addition of live NBA games, highlights, classic footage, originals and more to our mobile sports offering, Yahoo Sports and Verizon’s family of media brands are becoming the first-screen for fans of live sports, and a superior alternative for partners and advertisers.”
Bill Koenig, the NBA’s president of global content and media distribution, said the deal “allows us to tap into Verizon’s expansive reach and new technologies to engage our fans through a variety of innovative experiences.”
In addition, the NBA and Verizon will work together on enhanced Yahoo Fantasy experiences and deliver daily league highlights packages to Verizon’s platforms.