TNT, televising the festivities for an 11th straight season, and NBA Digital, co-managed by Turner Sports and the pro hoops league, are upping their games through comprehensive team coverage of 2013 NBA All-Star events in Houston via multimedia vehicles.
Christina Miller, senior vice president and general manager of NBA Digital, calls the festivities a gathering of the “league’s best and brightest,” with that on-court talent assemblage being paralleled by NBA Digital and TNT’s efforts to be as” innovative and creative as possible across various platforms.”
With a social media assist, TNT, NBA TV, NBA.com and NBA Mobile’s extensive presentation will combine to deliver some 160 hours of programming.
Starting with a 15-hour marathon of dunk contests past on Valentine’s Day, NBA TV will televise more than 120 hours of All-Star programming, For its part, NBA.com is adding more than 20 hours of live streaming content from around the weekend’s signature events.
TNT will televise the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge of league young talent at 9 p.m. on Friday Feb. 15. Serving as general managers, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley picked the squads on Feb. 7 during the special pre-game show preceding the drama network’s doubleheader of Los Angeles-Boston and Chicago-Denver. The All-Star Game itself is set for a 7 p.m. tipoff on TNT on Feb. 17.
In between, TNT will deliver the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, which is sitting on a format change. The event, comprising shooting stars, skills, three-point shooting and dunk competitions, will sport a new East vs. West format with points tallied for the squads, captained by Dwayne Wade and Chris Paul, respectively. Some $500,000 -- $350,000 from the winning side – will be donated to charities.
From the mobile side of the hardwood, NBA Digital, for the first time, is launching a free event-based app -- available via the App Store and Google Play -- for all fans including those attending All-Star events in Houston. The app will include top stories, photos, video highlights, ticket information, maps, event details and team rosters. Using NBA Digital’s mobile app for NBA Game Time, fans will be able to track all the live event action including audio from the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge and NBA All-Star Game, scoring updates for East vs. West during State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, and other behind-the-scenes content.
Miller said the game plan calls for “seamless consumption. It’s not a case of either/or and toggling back and forth to different platforms. There is content for fans to snack or commit to whether on the TV, computers, tablet or smartphone.”
NBA Digital is also keeping a keen eye on the social side.
Redesigned for this year’s NBA All-Star, NBA.com’s Social Spotlight will keep fans up to speed on the latest tweets, photos and other social engagement by NBA players, teams and the conversations surrounding them throughout the weekend.
Located on the NBA.com home page, NBA All-Star Pulse will present updates, news, video and photos from All-Star festivities throughout the weekend. Fans can follow tweets from NBA players and insiders, share user-generated video, check which topics and content are trending in real time and get behind-the-scenes video from players and celebrities.
NBA Challenge presented by State Farm is the league's real-time predictive gaming experience that facilitates fan interaction during the Saturday night activities; it is accessible via NBA.com’s TV Companion and NBA GameTime iPad app.
With All-Star Scene, NBA.com will post behind-the-scenes photos, videos and live streaming footage of All-Star press conferences, while the rookie Style Blog is devoted to the fashion of the Stars, replete with interviews, photo collages and more.
Meanwhile, fans will be able to vote for the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge MVP, Sprite Slam Dunk champion and NBA All-Star MVP via online, mobile web, SMS text messaging and Twitter.
“We want fans to consume, Tweet, share, like follow,” said Miller.”We want fans to look at the photos and videos and posting them to Instagram and Vine.”
NBA TV will conclude All-Star Weekend on Monday Feb. 18 with interviews with two of the league’s all-time players and a high-profile Turner employee, who also had a Hall of Fame game. Preceded by 5.5 hours of vintage video, the network will air One-on-One with Ahmad Rashad: Michael Jordan at 8 p.m., His Airness, the Charlotte Bobcats owner, turns 50 on Feb. 17.
Mr. Russell’s House follows at 9 p.m. with Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons interviewing the sport’s all-time winner, before TNT analyst Charles Barkley engages with Inside the NBA teammate Ernie Johnson in Sir Charles at 50 at 10 p.m.
“Getting Jordan, Russell and Charles to sit down is a special way for us to end,” said Miller.
Presumably, all of this action will serve to boost the Nielsens.
The 2012 BVA Rising Stars Challenge, featuring then New New York Knicks' point guard sensation Jeremey Lin, was the most-watched telecast in the event's history, with more than 2.7 million viewers. However, the Saturday night fare dropped 23% to 6.2 million viewers from a record 8.1 million in 2011, while the All-Star Game saw a 22% decline to 7.1 million watchers from 9.1 million the year before in what was TNT’s second-best performance since it began televising the event in 2003. The audience for the 2012 All-Star Game was also impacted by ABC’s presentation of the Academy Awards that night.