Yahoo Sports' extended NBA deal features virtual reality rights
North American basketball's NBA has renewed and enlarged its existing partnership with Yahoo Sports, part of Verizon Media and an arm of the web services and digital media company.
Yahoo is now an official marketing partner of the league while Ryot, also a Verizon Media brand, is a live virtual reality partner for the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season, which resumed yesterday in Florida.
Until 14 August, Ryot will produce virtual reality coverage of 13 games from the NBA’s return, aiming to virtually take fans inside the Orlando Walt Disney Resort, where all games during the resumption period will be played and no spectators will physically be present, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ryot has the NBA League Pass Virtual Reality rights, previously held by NextVR.
Guru Gowrappan, Verizon Media’s chief executive, said: “NBA League Pass in VR is exactly the kind of innovative solution we love to create with our partners… Ryot’s powerful VR capabilities will deliver a truly immersive live experience at home.”
Yahoo Sport’s partnership with the NBA has been extended, meanwhile, and Verizon will now distribute NBA content across Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Fantasy and Yahoo Sportsbook.
This will include NBA-based sports betting content, according to Yahoo, as well as digital video content based around the NBA fantasy league.
The two will also collaborate to produce themed shows during the end-of-season conference and NBA finals, while Yahoo Sports will continue to produce the NBA’s official fantasy game.
Bill Koenig, president of global content and media distribution at the NBA, added: “With everything from fantasy games, sports betting integrations, gaming-focused content and NBA games in VR, there will be no shortage of opportunities to get closer to the game.”
After a four-month season hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA’s 2019-20 campaign resumed yesterday, as the Utah Jazz and LA Lakers earned narrow wins over the New Orleans Pelicans and LA Clippers, respectively.
Earlier today, Sportcal reported that the NBA would be providing its broadcast partners in the Europe and Middle East with more prime-time games for the remainder of the regular season.
In an interview with Sportcal, Ralph Rivera, the managing director of NBA EME, said: “Broadcasters will have access to more games and importantly for our region, given the time zone differences, more games in prime-time. Over the next two weeks, we will have more games in prime-time than ever before.”
With no spectators in attendance, the NBA is seeking to increase its global fan engagement levels with more games to be shown in prime-time to suit audiences in EME and with broadcast innovations through its digital offerings, such as OTT subscription service NBA League Pass.
Elsewhere, the NBA has signed a multi-year partnership with Hyperice, a performance technology brand which is now the league’s official recovery technology partner.
Hyperice will provide players during the restart period with a custom-designed physical recovery device called the Hypervolt, which is a hand-held massage tool.
The partnership will spread across the regular season, the NBA’s All-Star Game, and the NBA Summer League.
A Hyperice advert premiere has also now been featured on the TNT channel, during its coverage of the Clippers - Lakers fixture yesterday.
Dan Rossomondo, senior vice-president of media and business development at the NBA, said: “Our partnership with Hyperice furthers our commitment to optimising player performance and recovery through innovative technology.”
The 2019-20 NBA Playoffs will start in August, with the Finals to be completed by 12 October.