Australia’s National Basketball League, the NBL, recently announced they had signed a two year deal with streaming site Twitch to stream every game of the NBL season internationally, and allow allowing other Twitch streamers to stream live games while providing their own commentary.
The deal is a massive one for the NBL as it allows the league to reach a massive, young, international audience with relative ease of access while also finding away around traditional mainstream media roadblocks.
Put simply, the NBL sees that while they may lose a little in broadcasting rights, they will gain a lot more viewers overall with this deal, which is longer term thinking as they look to grow their supporter base.
The NBL’s move will have major ramifications in The Australian broadcasting scene.
With very few major broadcasters in Australia and not too much competition for broadcasting rights, at times broadcasters hold all the cards when it comes time for sports to negotiate broadcasting deals.
As we have seen recently, Rugby Leagues main Free To Air broadcaster has even been open to using its newspaper to try and talk down the upcoming NRL broadcasting rights deal. When it comes to broadcasting rights, the gloves are off.
The NBL’s deal with Twitch opens new doors for other Australian sports. What is to stop Twitch, Apple TV, Disney TV via ESPN, Amazon or even Youtube from now bidding for streaming rights for the National Rugby League and use the highest rated sport in Australia as a way to become a mainstream, online broadcaster in The Australian market?
On the flip side you have these streaming giants, with an already massive user base and the ability to easily and professional stream content across the world, opening up new opportunities for Australian sport. Imagine the NRL being easy to access, reaching more viewers than ever before, and cementing its place as the biggest, best, most exciting club rugby competition in the entire world!
With Kayo Sports in Australia looking to lock down online sports streaming for Australian sports, the market is about to get very crowded. To get the NRL rights, Fox Sports (Who own Kayo) will need to pay through the nose.
This can only be a great thing for not only sports like Rugby League, but also for viewers of games, as competition always leads to better broadcasts and a lower subscription price.
Imagine if in a few years from now instead of signing up for Foxtel or switching on Channel 9, you were joining millions of people to watch Friday night football on Youtube!
The next few years will be truly exciting for sports broadcasting in Australia. The NBL has taken the first big leap, lets see who is the next to follow.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com