In the latest sign of what the future of basketball broadcasting might be, the NBA will soon co-stream some of its developmental league games on the popular social video service Twitch, enabling a wide variety of commentators on games.
Known for the giant audiences who watch other people playing video games, Twitch will begin showing up to six weekly NBA G League games on December 15. In addition to evaluating players, the NBA also uses the G League, formerly known as the D League, to test out new technologies and other systems that might one day make their way to the big leagues.
The pact enables Twitch personalities and basketball fans to add their own commentary to the official game feeds, and to bring those augmented feeds to their own communities. And while the pact announced today applies only to the G League, the NBA will watch closely to see how the experiment goes–and it’s fair to imagine that the league may someday potentially expand the Twitch partnership to actual NBA games.
After all, as NBA vice president of global media Jeff Marsilio told Fast Company in an emailed response to a question, “If you take a step back, you can see how this could have an even larger impact: We’re exploring ways to ambitiously innovate the digital presentation of basketball–including at the NBA level. While the game looks fantastic on TV, we want to continue to work with our media partners to drive the experience forward.”