The curious lack of an NBL desktop streaming product was discussed last season, but it looks like the NBL has decided to fix that gap, and perfect its digital offering with Telstra's expertise in the sports streaming domain.
The NBL recently announced an expansion in its ongoing partnership with official technology partner Telstra, and will roll live NBL streaming out via the Telstra TV device and mobile devices.
Calling Telstra "the best in the business", NBL GM Jeremy Loeliger is expecting this to revolutionise Australia's digital consumption of basketball. NBL executive director, Larry Kestelman also views the enhanced partnership as a step towards the NBL's resurgence towards the most watched Australian sport in the digital landscape.
“One of our main priorities is to create Australia’s most innovative, technology driven sports entertainment product where fans can access content 24/7, live and on-demand, where ever they are in Australia and, where possible, internationally.”
What does this mean for the NBL?
Ease of transition. Telstra is known for its robust digital products, when it comes to sports. The strength and popularity of its AFL Live Pass and NRL Digital Pass offerings, indicate mature technology that can be adapted for the NBL with ease.
Logistical teething issues aside, we can expect the new NBL streaming product to be a painless transition for fans. Expect familiar user interfaces, and more importantly similar features to be rolled out.
What features can we expect?
It's reasonable to expect features like live streaming, on-demand full replays, and multiple device access. The hardcore fans (including media personnel) might even look forward to the prospect of having access to live post-game press conferences.
What platforms can we expect to see the new NBL streaming product to be on?
As mentioned earlier, the NBL will be made available via Telstra TV. It's easy to set up, and avoids Wi-Fi issues (read: smoother streaming) with its Ethernet option.
Mobile device (app) access
Similar to AFL Live Pass, we can expect support across a variety of popular iOS and Android smart phones and tablets, including brands like Apple, HTC, Samsung and even Windows phones.
It would not be a surprise to see unmetered video data applying on the same Telstra services (BigPond ADSL/Cable/NBN, Telstra mobile handsets/tablets) AFL Live Pass allows for.
AFL's own desktop offering (AFL.TV) only allows for game replays and not live streaming. Unless you're outside of Australia --in which case the WatchAFL Global Pass applies-- Australian desktop users are excluded from live game streams.
It has not been confirmed if NBL desktop users will be subject to the same limitation.
Pricing and product details
No pricing information has been released at this stage.
The media release confirmed that the new product allows "every Telstra mobile customer to enjoy every minute of NBL coverage live for the 2017 season", but does not elaborate on whether this offering is for Telstra customers exclusively. It's highly likely the NBL will follow in the footsteps of AFL Live Pass, which means it is available to all Australian residents.
When reached for comment, the NBL confirmed full details on this new digital offering will be announced in the next couple of weeks.