Thursday July 21st, 2016

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After sealing a deal to live-stream another major sports league on Tuesday—this time the NBA—Twitter has created another Stephen Curry-esque splash in the tech space. This will be the first broadcast of original programming made specifically for Twitter, with the NBA producing two new shows that Twitter will stream beginning in the 2016–17 season.

The deal is not as monumental as the one with the NFL when Twitter gained the rights to stream 10 Thursday Night football games. The NBA deal does not include streaming full NBA games. The rights to stream live games belong to the NBA’s multiple broadcast partners: ESPN, Turner Broadcasting, NBA Digital, regional sports networks and international media distributors.

But the partnership is a step in the right direction for both Twitter and the NBA. The first show will be a weekly pregame leadoff, and the other is still development.

“We’re excited about bringing live content to Twitter, which has proven to be an ideal destination for real-time sports conversations,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver told The Wall Street Journal. “We’ve seen technology bring fans closer to our game, teams and players in ways we could have only imagined a decade ago. This expanded partnership will help feed our fans’ growing demand for the NBA by more deeply integrating the league across Twitter’s many platforms.”

The NBA also plans on doubling its digital content for Twitter, Vine and Periscope, featuring more in-game highlights, player arrivals, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. So get ready for more full-court alley oops, long distance threes and posterizing dunks that make the NBA so digitally scrumptious.

On Twitter and Vine, the NBA has the most followers of the major U.S. pro sports leagues. The introduction of the six-second video-looping services and capabilities incorporating NBA highlights has skyrocketed the platform.

Making noise in the social media scene is a game of trial and error. Just ask Neil Doshi, an analyst who covers Twitter for Mizuho Securities. “I think Twitter’s trying to test certain NBA content and see what gets people’s attention,” Doshi told The Mercury News. “They’re trying to position themselves much more deeply with live video, and this could be the identity Twitter has needed.”

As nice as a six-second video is, live-streaming is the next big thing on social media and Twitter’s major competition, Facebook, has been netting its own content plays with the NBA.

Twitter has already streamed Wimbledon and has announced plans to stream several other Bloomberg TV programs and 150 Pac-12 conference games. Twitter is even dipping its toes into the political scene, streaming the Republican National Convention in partnership with CBS.

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