When I first heard the news that the NBA would be offering single game pay-per-view telecasts, four thoughts came to mind...
1. Plenty of Channels: When programmers were talking about this years ago, no one really thought the day would come so quickly that 500 stations would be at the low end of the spectrum.
2. Dynamic Ticket Pricing: It wasn’t until the late 1990s that teams were willing to look at this disruptive technology. Now it is standard operating procedure and teams are making millions from this revenue stream.
3. Attention Span of a Gnat: Even the most devoted fan won’t be going to the majority of their team's games based on today’s hyper frenetic pace. Time is more valuable than money.
4. The Future Is Now: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is talking about legalized gambling on NBA games and pushing the envelope on global expansion.
For the first time the NBA will allow their fans to pay $6.99 to purchase and watch any NBA game for the 2015-16 season. Hoop heads will be able to watch the game on their tube if they have a cable provider that carries NBA League Pass. Systems such as DirecTV, Dish, AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner and Cox have to make business decisions on whether they will cooperate with the NBA. Fans will be able to use the option on broadband, tablets and mobile devices.
Will the NBA on your Apple watch be far away?
NBA League Pass, which came onto the scene in 1994, will remain at $199.99. In the past, fans could only buy all out-of-market games for the season. This year the NBA is letting fans buy a team package where those living outside the franchise’s primary market can buy all the teams games for $119.99.
A $6.99 price tag per game isn't exactly a bargain when you compare it to movies on demand. Major boxing or MMA shows are promoted as mega-events and are much more expensive, far different from picking from a menu of an 82-game NBA season.
NBA League Pass is an extremely flexible package when compared to what other leagues are offering. MLB offers monthly and yearly price points at around $100 through MLB.tv and Extra Innings, but no team specific packages. NFL Sunday Ticket is only available on DirecTV. NFL games are available through online streaming but only as replays around $70 or per game on iTunes for $1.99. NHL is starting a team specific online service.
The NBA seems like a jarring change to the viewing equation. When you factor in that many millions of sports fans live an on-the-go life in 2015, the new program seems more logical. Sports fans are already addicted to highlights and Top 10 lists. When your team is hot, you’ll pay to participate.
The new NBA could now stand for "No Barriers Allowed." Today’s world of immediacy and immersion for sports fans will show us that what seems crazy and illogical could in fact be smart and strategic.