NBL eyes international audiences with Facebook deal

Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) will stream games in the United States through a partnership with Facebook Watch.

The agreement will see 52 NBL games streamed via the platform and the NBL Facebook page. An additional 23 regular season games (one per round), finals and other highlights will be streaming in Australia and New Zealand.

The NBL can now be watched on Facebook in the U.S

Nine walked away from a three-year deal it had signed with the NBL just 12 months in, on a revenue sharing model. The network said that the sport would be better served by another broadcaster, with SBS picking up the rights.

SBS will broadcast the entire 2019-20 NBL season – 67 games on SBS Viceland and all 126 games on SBS On Demand. The new model is an 86% increase in free-to-air coverage for the sport.

ESPN also has rights for the NBL and will televise 59 prime-time games. The subscription TV channel also has the rights for the NBA, WNBA and College Basketball.

NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said: “This partnership will ensure huge exposure for the NBL in the biggest basketball market in the world.

“It also reinforces our status as the best basketball league in the world outside of the NBA during what is an incredibly exciting time for the sport in Australia and New Zealand.”

Karren Rogers of Facebook Australia sports partnerships said the partnership will give US fans an avenue to engage with the NBL, as well as opening up new viewing options for local fans.

A record 13 Australians played in the NBA last season and 113 NBA players have played in the NBL since its inception in 1979.

The first Facebook Watch broadcast in Australia and New Zealand will be the opening game of the season on October 3, when Melbourne United and South East Melbourne Phoenix face off in the Throwdown.


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