NBA's Chinese Broadcast Deal Will Include VR

NBA's Chinese Broadcast Deal Will Include VR
December 12, 2018
Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves in action against Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors during a game at the 2017 NBA Global Games China at Mercedes-Benz Arena on Oct. 8, 2017 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)


The NBA announced a multi-platform broadcast and marketing partnership with Migu, an entertainment subsidiary of the state-owned China Mobile Communications Corporation. The multi-year agreement will deliver NBA content across mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau via Migu and China Mobile’s family of media brands.


The deal marks Migu’s first official partnership with a North American sports league. Migu will provide fans in mainland China with daily NBA game highlights, behind-the-scenes videos, original programming content, and classic NBA games. Migu and the NBA will also collaborate to integrate 4K resolution and virtual reality into the fan viewing experience as part of the partnership.


“The cooperation between Migu and the NBA is China Mobile’s important step to increase the cooperation with top international content companies and jointly create a high-quality content platform with them,” said Qin Jian, VP of China Mobile, in a press release. “We believe that we can leverage each other’s advantages in premium content production and media operations to bring a higher-quality experience to millions of domestic users.”


In Hong Kong and Macau, Migu will broadcast live preseason, regular season, and postseason NBA games, including the NBA Finals. Migu also gained broadcast rights to the NBA All-Star game, the NBA Draft, and original NBA programming. Migu’s Hong Kong and Macau platforms will carry NBA TV, the league’s 24/7 programming network. The company also now has the rights to design and sell NBA co-branded merchandise available via China Mobile and Migu’s e-commerce platforms. Migu was also named the official marketing partner of the NBA China Games as part of the deal.


SportTechie Takeaway


This partnership is similar to the one Migu signed in October with the Chinese Basketball Association, which is set to provide live stream and on-demand videos of upcoming CBA matches in 4K resolution according to China Daily. One notable addition to Migu’s deal with the NBA is that the partnership will include virtual reality elements to the NBA viewing experience on Migu channels.


The league has already begun to invest in VR content elsewhere. As part of a deal with NextVR, the NBA’s League Pass subscription service is offering daily VR content for select games throughout the 2018-19 NBA season.

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