At MIT’s Sloan Sports Analytics conference in Boston earlier this week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he sees the nature of the league’s broadcasting visuals, and strategy, to be “dramatically different” over the next five years.
This comes as no surprise as the NBA has proven recently they are taking full advantage of the digital age. So far the league has dabbled in Twitch streaming, Second Spectrum’s augmented reality and providing second screen experiences through Twitter with iso-cams.
Silver stressed that reaching potential fans who have not and will not pay for cable subscriptions is an important next step for the league.
“We know from every bit of research right now, all of the social media platforms, there’s more interest in our product than ratings reflect,” Silver said. “The problem is there is a large pool of audience out there who don’t pay for basic cable, so they can’t get it. That’s a problem we can figure out over time.”
One tactic the league recently began to utilize is allowing fans to purchase viewing rights on a game-by-game or even quarter-by-quarter basis through League Pass.
“All of us would pay for that content, pay a buck or whatever else or pay $3 if it’s the first quarter or a buck if there is only five minutes left,” Silver said. “That transactional friction has to be eliminated. We’re being paid a lot of money to gate our content now from ABC and ESPN, then from TNT, but what’s happening is that demand and supply aren’t meeting right now.”
Silver stressed the league’s next moves are critical. Though the NBA has been making strides with their technical advances, the commissioner is taking a never satisfied attitude in this digital approach.
“If we don’t stay current and stay ahead of it, we’re going to see a massive drop off.”