NBA Digital Aims for Epic Feel With Celtics/Lakers Finals

NBA Digital is coming to the end of its strongest year to date, and there is no better way to go out than with another installment of the greatest rivalry in league history. Between the two of them, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers own more than half the championships in NBA history, and NBA Digital aims to lend an epic feel to the latest edition of this matchup.

“With the Finals, we are able to really focus all of our creative production talents on a single [series],” says Bryan Perez, SVP/GM, NBA Digital. “It’s great time to be in the NBA business. We had a great season, and it gave us a real shot of momentum going into our third year. We distributed over a billion video views online over the last 12 months and have more than 2 million mobile apps out now. And we’ve still got this huge offseason to look forward to.”

Super Highlights
NBA Digital’s Finals coverage initiatives are headlined by a Super Highlights package on NBA.com. The day after each game, NBA.com offers extended highlights featuring multiple camera angles, slo-mo, and game-day audio from the local radio announcers for both teams.

“You’re taking a highlight, but you’re including a bunch of different camera angles,” says Perez. “For a normal highlight when you’re in season and you’ve got 1,240 games to crank through, you just show the single broadcast angle of each play and then off you go. Whereas, here, we’re really going to be able to extend it, tell a better story, and give some different looks from the significant plays. So you can get a slash camera or a handheld instead of just [the game camera].”

The goal with the Super Highlights is to create a live-game experience within a post-produced highlight. They will be featured on NBA.com but can also be reallocated for NBA TV as part of an in-depth look at each game.

NBA Digital is using its regular highlights crew for the Super Highlights. However, rather than spreading manpower across a full slate of games, Bryan can allow the entire team to focus on a single series during the Finals.

“We’re using our regular [highlights] crew, but, for the Finals, it’s all-hands-on-deck focused on one particular game,” he says. “So you can really take it to the next level in terms of production values. When you leave the same guys in place and, rather than splitting them up across multiple games, you focus them on one game, they can produce some really compelling stuff.”

NBA.com Sets Sights on Social Media
NBA Digital has also rolled out a host of social-media features for the 2010 Finals, including live streaming-video chats with NBA TV’s Chris Webber and Kenny Smith (also on Yahoo.com) and regular Twitter posts from NBA TV talent and NBA.com writers.

“Our social initiatives are a staple for us and a place where we have a lot of leadership,” says Perez. “Whether it’s video chats with Webber and Kenny or the TV talent and editorial guys Twittering during games and off days, it really provides that feeling of being here at the Finals and taking you inside the series. We think that’s going to be a nice treat for the fans.”

Other NBA.com features include live streaming of coaches’ pre-game news conferences, all post-game press conferences, post-game live blogs for every game, and streaming-video reports from TNT and NBA TV announcers. Fans can also vote for the Player of the Game on NBA.com and watch The Barkley Zone, Charles Barkley’s exclusive channel where fans can ask him questions and interact.

NBA Game Time Courtside in the Finals
NBA Mobile’s playoffs application, NBA Game Time Courtside, will continue to provide live coverage on mobile devices. The live game companion provides real-time scores, stats, and video highlights throughout each game. The app is available for free on the Apple App store.

“Game Time Courtside was built for the playoffs, which culminates here,” says Perez. “There won’t necessarily be anything new, but those Super Highlights will be available on mobile as well. When we publish highlights, the same one that goes to NBA.com goes to the mobile app, so you’ll have that same kind of advanced content available on our Game Time mobile apps.”

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