NBA launches YouTube channel in sub-Saharan Africa
North American basketball’s NBA today launched its first dedicated platform for fans in sub-Saharan Africa, launching a YouTube channel in the region.
Under the terms of the agreement, the channel will broadcast two live ‘primetime’ games per week for the rest of the 2018-19 season, including the playoffs, conference finals and finals.
The first two games on the channel will take place this coming Sunday when the Boston Celtics take on the Charlotte Hornets and the LA Clippers visit the New York Knicks.
The channel will also feature original and archived programming, including a collaboration with Africa-based YouTube creators on original content, a customised weekly magazine show and NBA documentaries featuring current and former African players and legends.
Econet Media, a subsidiary of Econet Group, the Zimbabwe-based telecoms company, is the NBA’s broadcast partner in sub-Saharan Africa after signing a multi-year deal in 2016. It broadcasts 500 games per year across its television, internet and mobile platforms, including the Kwesé viewing platforms and sports offering, Kwesé Sports.
Amadou Gallo Fall, the NBA’s vice-president and managing director for Africa, said: “The NBA Africa YouTube channel is yet another important milestone for the NBA in Africa and will allow more fans to access our games, live and on demand, across the continent.”
The deal enhances the NBA’s relationship with YouTube, which first began in 2005 when the NBA became the first professional sports league to partner with the platform and launch a channel. Last year, YouTube TV became the first presenting partner of the NBA Finals and WNBA Finals.
The agreement also strengthens the NBA's commitment to Africa, where just last month the league and FIBA, the sport’s global governing body, announced plans to launch the Basketball Africa League, a new professional league featuring 12 teams from across the continent.
The BAL is scheduled to begin in January 2020 and will be the NBA’s first collaboration in operating a league outside North America.
The NBA has staged three NBA Africa Games in the last four years in South Africa in the off-season, contested between a team of Africa-born players against a team made up from the rest of the world, while the league also puts on a number of coaching clinics on the continent.