The rise of a sport in a country is often slow-paced, with hitting the right audience and spreading the popularity being major tasks in the process. India is a country, whose heart has for decades, belonged to cricket, but has now started to bring in other global sports as well.
On the business end, India is also one of the biggest streaming markets when it comes to sports. Naturally, major sporting outfits around the globe are increasingly looking at entering the Indian space by bringing in innovation to strike a chord with the country’s youth.
One such sport in basketball. With the rise in the popularity of the sport, major players have been showing interest in the country and it is all out there for us to see. A breakthrough example is when the National Basketball Association (NBA) from the US announced that they will be live streaming matches to India, on their official social accounts, for the first time ever.
The announcement will see the basketball governing body feature all seven games including the Toronto Raptors and two-time defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, streamed for free to Indian fans on NBA’s social media accounts.
The season finale will also be broadcast on India’s Sony channels, including Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony ESPN. While the social media streaming and broadcast shows will run in English, all games aired on Sony Ten 3 will be available in Hindi.
Diane Gotua, NBA vice president, global business operations, said, “We are always looking to provide our passionate fans in India with more ways to experience the excitement of our games.”
“Streaming this historic matchup on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, along with broadcasting the games across SONY, will deliver unprecedented access to the NBA Finals.”
The deal comes followed by the big announcement NBA made in December that Mumbai will be hosting two matches between the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings in October, seeking a breakthrough reach in India.
Throughout the 2018/19 season, Sony featured more than 300 live games across its network. The finals for this season which tipped off on May 30, also marks the first time games played in Canada are being featured.
A major boost for the sport in India, will this dawn a new wave of basketball giants coming to the country and reaching out to its niche audience? Let’s wait and watch.