The National Basketball Association (NBA), in partnership with The 120 Media Collective, a content creation and communications company, launched a customised portal - NBA.com in India. The geo-targeted NBA.com will offer Indian fans access to video highlights, game recaps, scores, stats and more.
The interactive and mobile first digital destination will also provide extensive localised content, including podcasts hosted by local basketball personalities and a special section dedicated to Sim Bhullar – the first player of Indian descent to play in the NBA – and Satnam Singh – the first Indian player to be drafted into the NBA.
The move comes as a reiteration of the basketball association’s commitment to growing presence – on-ground, online and on-air, in India, a market they set up an office in almost five years back. NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum added that the India office, headed by NBA India MD Yannick Colaco, now reports directly to the New York office (the headquarters) and not to the Asia office.
The league opened its office in Mumbai, India in 2011. As part of its commitment to grow basketball in India, the league has hosted touring basketball events, grassroots development and talent search programs. Broadcast partner SONY SIX, India’s premier sports and entertainment channel, televises 14 NBA games per week.
Additionally, NBA.com in India will feature personalised settings for fans to follow their favorite NBA teams and ,players, an NBA FIT corner with instructional basketball content, and “Supreme Courts” a segment showcasing the best basketball courts across the country. Through the digital destination, fans will be able to access NBA LEAGUE PASS, the league’s digital package offering a full season of live NBA games and rich archive of NBA content.
“The popularity of basketball in India has never been stronger, and our newly redesigned digital destination will provide Indian fans with instant access to NBA news and content,” said Tatum. “We are committed to the growth of basketball in India, and we will continue working with our partners to introduce new ways for fans to experience the NBA.”
Colaco added that the digital destination will help bring more NBA properties to India audiences. For example, it will drive the presence of WNBA and D-League (both parts of the NBA games every season) in India. Currently, Sony Six broadcasts only the NBA games (14 games a week) which feature the men’s teams and matches and not the women’s NBA matches.
“We are excited to be partnering with one of the world’s leading sports properties to engage deeply with Indian audiences,” said The 120 Media Collective Founder & CEO Roopak Saluja. “NBA.com lies at the core of The 120 Media Collective’s engagement strategy and will be supported by robust distribution to ensure our content is seen and shared where the audience already is.”
NBA’s has seen a good year in India in 2015 Tatum explained. While merchandise sales were up 200 per cent (albeit on a small base) through its association with Jabong, TV viewership touched 70 million. Along with the customised NBA.com in India, the NBA features 19 international online destinations. The digital destination in India will continue to introduce new features in the coming months.