- NBA App integrates League Pass and NBA TV
- Data-driven ‘For You’ page offers real-time highlights and recommendations
- New tech platform provides foundation for international engagement
The National Basketball Association (NBA) has overhauled its global application to become a one-stop shop for basketball fans around the world, promising a data-driven personalised experience that aggregates team and league content, as well as integrating live streaming.
The NBA App integrates the existing NBA League Pass and NBA TV direct-to-consumer (DTC) offerings and bundles this with a vast array of original content, alternative broadcasts and archive footage.
The application also includes news, live scores and highlights, in addition to bringing in content from partners, influencers and individual teams’ social accounts.
“We’re not only trying to make this new experience easier for the fan but we’re trying to make it truly all things basketball,” said Bob Carney, head of digital and social content at the NBA. “We want the app to be the aggregation of the entire NBA content ecosystem.
“We see an opportunity to offer much more than the top stories and top moments. If you’re a fan of a particular team or player, then that depth just doesn’t exist on social media. We are going to be able to offer coverage of every single player, every single team.”
The NBA App is powered by a new cloud-based technology platform developed with help from Microsoft and a new ‘NBA ID’ membership programme that creates a universal profile for fans and gathers data that can be fed into intelligent algorithms that learn user preferences.
These insights are used to tailor the experience and recommend content that deepens engagement. At the heart of the new app is a ‘For You’ page that provides vertical video and real-time highlights of all games in progress.
“This was a mission that we started two years ago when we started transforming the NBA’s DTC business with the goal of making it easier to be an NBA fan,” explained Chad Evans, head of product and platform, NBA Next Gen at the NBA.
“We needed to think about how we worked across all the departments on the organisation, work with our regions and bring our technology development in-house.
“The critical element of NBA ID is about rewarding fandom, understanding fan behaviour and recognising and giving benefits to fans who participate through our ecosystem. These rewards might be access to exclusive content, ticket access or merchandising discounts and working closely with the regions to find an offer that makes sense in those local markets.”
The NBA says a different approach was required for its international fanbase so it and its teams can foster deeper, more meaningful relationships. Fans outside North America, it argues, consume content differently, support different players and have different broadcast arrangements.
“[The new app] is an important milestone in terms of how we engage and scale our engagement with fans globally but also regionally,” added George Aivazoglou, head of fan engagement and DTC for the NBA in Europe and the Middle East.
“Last year [in Europe] we saw record numbers of engagement and growth in terms of the League Pass subscriber base and consumption [levels] and we want to take that to even higher levels. We’re very fortunate that we have some of the most passionate fans in the world but there are also more than 60 [European] NBA players including Giannis [Antetokounmpo], Nikola Jokic and many, many others.”
“We feel that we’re in a unique position in terms of harnessing that fandom so long as we understand the dimensions of that fandom. So, [who they are], how they consume content, how they interact with the NBA so we can create personalised and customised experiences for them.
“You can be a more casual fan who wakes up and looks at the recap on social media in the morning, or you could be a hardcore fan that stays up until 3am to watch the game live. Or you might not care as much about watching games but prefer playing fantasy sports.”
To coincide with the launch of the application, the NBA is offering a standard League Pass subscription for £99.99 (US$108) a season or ad-free premium subscription for £129.99 (US$141) a season. In the US, the packages cost US$100 and US$130 respectively.