Verizon, NBA Strike Content, Marketing Deal

go90 Nets Access to Live NBA Games, Exclusive Content
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Verizon Communications confirmed Wednesday that it has inked a multiyear content and marketing partnership with the National Basketball Association that will include the delivery of live NBA games and game highlights to go90, the carrier’s recently launched mobile-first OTT video service.

The deal, first reported by The New York Times, makes Verizon the official wireless service provider of the NBA, Women’s National Basketball Association, NBA Development League and USA Basketball.

go90, meanwhile, will offer NBA content spanning daily highlights, original content and access to live out-of-market games via NBA League Pass, which will be available on an a la carte basis (users will have the option to buy single games, team passes or the full season package, which provides nearly 1,000 live out-of-market games). go90 users will also get exclusive access to NBA-related content, and be able to share select clips and highlights via text, Facebook and Twitter.

go90, which is using live sports as a way to set itself apart from other OTT services such as YouTube and Comcast’s new Watchable offering, launched last month with about 8,000 titles (via 65 content partners). go90, tailored for coveted millennial audiences, currently offers more than 40 exclusive original series, a number that’s expected to nearly double by the end of the year. Last week, beiN Sports, the international sports programmer, struck a new distribution deal with Verizon that included carriage on go90 as well as expanded carriage on FiOS TV.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed (USA Today reported that it’s a three-year deal valued at more than $400 million, though the NBA is free to shop content to other streaming outlets). But Verizon said it is also the title partner of the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk platform, which includes the “Verizon Slam Dunk” contest that will debut at NBA All-Star 2016 in Toronto. Verizon will become the presenting partner of the NBA All-Star Balloting Program and a partner of NBA Draft, NBA Summer League and the Jr. NBA.  Additionally, Verizon will have a marquee partnership with the WNBA, starting with the 2016 season.

On the marketing end, Verizon will also be integrated into other league-run media and digital properties, including NBA TV,, the NBA App and other “NBA Digital assets” that are jointly managed by the league and Turner Sports, along with national broadcast partners ABC, ESPN and TNT.

“There’s never been a more exciting time to be teaming with the NBA,” said Diego Scotti, chief marketing officer for Verizon, said in a statement. “The NBA has rapidly evolved into a year-round digital experience that engages millions of young, cross cultural fans, in many interesting ways. We are always looking for new ways to add value for our customers, and this partnership creates great opportunities to do just that. We’re thrilled to bring exclusive and awesome content to go90 and to offer unprecedented access to unique experiences.”

"Verizon has an outstanding reputation for reliability and innovation, and thanks to this new partnership the NBA will be able to connect with fans in places and ways we never have before,” added Bill Koenig, the NBA’s president, global media distribution. “As one of the country’s leading mobile providers, we are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Verizon on their go90 platform to deliver a new mobile experience for NBA fans.”