When the season tips off Tuesday, NBA games will be even easier to watch: For the first time, League Pass subscribers will be able to jump directly from social media platforms to live games.
The new developments will allow fans to jump directly from Twitter and Facebook posts to the revamped NBA app, where they can view live action.
Instead of hearing about Klay Thompson scoring 40 points in a quarter and watching just a couple baskets on Vine, fans can go straight into the game and watch until he cools off.
“This is definitely something the commissioner is focused on, and that's making the game as easily accessible as possible for our fans,” NBA Digital senior vice president Melissa Rosenthal Brenner said. “We spend a lot of time developing an active community on social, and we spend a lot of time programming the right content on the right platform at the right time for our fans globally.”
Subscribers to League Pass (or Team Pass, which for the first time grants access to all out-of-market games for a single team) will be able to go straight from social media into the games they pay for and watch in real time. Non-subscribers can purchase access to a single game for $6.99.
While the NFL and MLB have cracked down on fan-generated video content on social platforms, the NBA has taken a different path, embracing the proliferation of league content on social media.
“The focus is on navigation, getting people to where they want to be easily having it happen quickly and trying to take the friction out of it so it's not going to overcomplicate or overburden some task of being able to watch a game,” Brenner added.
Nearly 87 percent of the league's players operate accounts on at least one social media platform. The NBA believes easier access to League Pass—as a supplement to the NBA's already popular social accounts—will serve the league's interests.
“We look at the content we generate on social and fan generated content on social is a method for people to discover our game,” Brenner said. “So we look at it as the ultimate marketing tool, that hopefully people will look at this content and then go and want to watch it. It's as straightforward as that. In some ways, if it's not there, it can become out of mind, out of sight.”
Brenner says the League Pass updates create new avenues for the game’s global growth outside the United States. For example, it will give fans in Spain easy access to watch Pau or Marc Gasol play. Last season, there were 101 international players on opening-night rosters, roughly a quarter of the league.
These updates will be available to broadband and mobile League Pass subscribers on iOS and Android devices. The NBA is offering a free trial period from opening night on Oct. 27 through Nov. 3.