Turner Sports and NBA Digital: Streaming A Different Kind of Training

With live-event streaming a constant staple for the past several years for all of the three-letter sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) the next frontier is putting the fan in to the training facility.

Starting yesterday, NBA.com began a series of live streamsfrom the training camps of five NBA teams—Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles and Washington, DC—as part of the 2K Sport NBA Real Training Camp. The schedule for the training camp live streams highlights the following teams on specific dates: Denver Nuggets (Sept. 29), NBA Champions L.A. Lakers (Oct. 1), Boston Celtics (Oct. 3), Washington Wizards (Oct. 5) and Atlanta Hawks (Oct. 6). Additional details regarding live stream and on-air times can be found at www.NBA.com.

Rather than just stream raw live training camp video, NBA TV will use its hosts Rick Kamla and Andre Aldridge and other guest analysts, to give insight into teams’ revamped rosters and anticipated stories for the upcoming season. Once the live streams are complete each day, portions of the streams will also be re-broadcast on NBA TV later the same day, and these one-hour compilations on NBA TV will continue to air until the season begins.

This web-first model of live production-quality streams, followed by an encore performance later the same day on NBA TV, was the brainchild of NBA Digital and Turner Sports, a division of Turner Broadcasting, Inc. Together they jointly manage the NBA Digital assets: NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA League Pass, NBADLeague.com, and WNBA.com.

Bryan Perez, senior vice -president of NBA Digital, talked about a few of the key reasons that streaming was chosen to launch this inside look in to several of the league's training camps.

"Because NBA Digital is part of the league, we can do what no other broadcaster or media outlet can do," said Perez. "We can give fans access to unprecedented events—including access to the training camps, which are seldom seen."

When asked about the business drivers of the decision to put a few teams training camps on NBA.com, Perez said it's up to the teams to participate.

"This is a decision made by the teams to participate, based on where they are in their development, how they feel about press coverage, and a variety of other factors," said Perez. "We are thrilled this season to have the last two NBA champions participating [Boston and LA] as there are some great storylines coming out of this."

Perez also said that this type of unprecedented access to the teams' training is just a glimpse of what each team will have available this season, in terms of live streaming tools.

"We see NBA.com as the 'go-to' place to find unique and timely content," said Perez. "Since we also provide the platform for each team's website, and we cover all teams' press conferences, we are going one step further this season and providing each team to their own live streaming player so that they can choose to push live streaming content at any point during the season."

When asked why NBA.com chose to stream this content live, rather than simulcasting it with NBA TV, Perez said the decision is about the fan's access to unique content.

"Putting it online first allows us to provide uninterrupted content," said Perez. "The producers and commentators will be reacting to what's happening on the court. What will be shown later that evening will be edited for commercial breaks, which means it will be close to the live stream but won't be the pure raw streaming experience."

The streams and the encore showing on NBA TV later that evening will both be two hours in length, while a future version will be edited to 30 minutes and rebroadcast multiple times throughout the season, in addition to being available on-demand at NBA.com.

Like everything in professional sports, there's not only a television tie-in, but also a video game tie-in: 2K Sports NBA Real Training Camp is sponsored by video game company Take Two Interactive Software, under its 2K Sport publishing label. 2K will release its NBA 2K10 video game on the final day of the live streamed training camps (October 6). It's the tenth installment of its popular basketball video game franchise.

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