It’s still early in the season, but the National Basketball Association is having a record year in terms of web video traffic and overall TV viewership — growth the league is attributing to a mutliplatform strategy that includes broader TV distribution, more in-depth online coverage and the availability of hundreds of mobile apps.
NBA TV has seen its distribution increase to 45 million homes, and the league says fan engagement has increased dramatically over the 2009/2010 season. Fan Night voting on NBA.com, for example, in which fans get to pick the featured game on NBA TV, is up more than 239 percent for the season, with 100,000-plus votes being cast for each game.
Viewers aren’t just tuning in to the TV broadcasts of NBA games, but watching huge amounts of video on the NBA.com web site as well. The league says video views online are up some 50 percent over this time last year, with 215 million streams from around the world.
The NBA’s mobile strategy has also been highly distributed, with the league introducing more than 100 mobile apps across the iPhone app store, the Android market and BlackBerry App World. In addition to its NBA League Pass Mobile app, which costs $39.99 and enables fans to watch live video from their mobile devices, the league has issued an NBA Game Time app ($9.99) with scores and stats from across the league, and apps for each individual NBA team ($3.99 each).
Sports leagues like the NBA are increasingly turning to a multiplatform strategy as a way to reach fans wherever they happen to be, on whichever device they’re using, at any given time. Major League Baseball pioneered multiplatform distribution with its MLB.tv online video product and the release last year of its MLB.com At Bat application. And NBC’s (s GE) multiplatform strategy for the 2008 Summer Olympics was incredibly successful at expanding the overall audience that watched the Games.