The National Basketball Association kicks off its 2013-14 season Tuesday (Oct. 29) with an enhanced digital-media offering that includes the league’s “Game Time” app for Apple and Android devices, as well as its “NBA League Pass” out-of-market game package. NBA Digital senior vice president and general manager Christina Miller outlined the league’s digital plans in an interview with Multichannel News programming editor R. Thomas Umstead last week.
MCN: How important are the NBA’s digital media offerings in serving the sport’s fans?
Christina Miller: It’s absolutely critical. You’ll hear us talk often about our points of difference … We look to stretch across as many screens as are available. By that I mean, when we look at any show, game or piece of content we’re asking ourselves from the word go, how is this going to look in mobile; what it’s going to look like on the desktop or on TV; and how is this going to be included in our app? It’s this layered experience that we try to consistently create.
MCN: What are some of the new enhancements to NBA’s digital offerings?
CM: The good news is that with the Game Time app, in particular, there’s a lot of great stuff . There’s a redesign that improves the look and feel, there’s improved dashboard navigation for scores, news and video experience. There’s a game recap for every single game; player stats, team rosters, team stats — all of that is in there at the base levels for everyone to enjoy. For people subscribing to League Pass, we’ve now added archived games and home and away feeds. I think across each platform of the app there’s been great care taken in this off -season to make sure we improved the look, the experience and the amount of content that people were getting.
MCN: Will there be opportunities for fans to experience their favorite teams from a TV Everywhere perspective?
CM: Looking at how to provide more games and game content is something that we’re always looking to do, as it ties to existing distribution deals. The league is probably more in the driver’s seat, so I don’t think there’s anything I can tell you beyond that. As those opportunities present themselves through either technology or deal-shifting, we’ll certainly look to take advantage of them.
MCN: How do you handicap the upcoming NBA season?
CM: This is where I stand back and view in awe of all the great storylines. The pipeline of talent keeps getting better and [established] players like [Miami Heat star] LeBron [James] keep getting better. There’s just an unbelievable depth of talent that each year seems to get better. There are also 13 new coaches in the league, so those teams will take on a different look and feel. That’s what makes basketball and the NBA really special.