NBA TV Makes Facebook History With Simulcast of Live Show

NBA Digital — a joint venture of the NBA and Turner Sports — pulled off a Facebook first earlier this month by partnering with the social-media giant on the platform’s first-ever simulcast of a live sports program.

NBA Real Training Camp is a behind-the-scenes show offering access inside a preseason practice and includes interviews with players, coaches, and front-office personnel. It’s a regularly produced live series on NBA TV this time of year, but the team at Turner Sports was looking to add a little something special for its Oct. 1 episode featuring Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Oct. 1 episode of NBA Real Training Camp was available live on Facebook.

The Oct. 1 episode of NBA Real Training Camp was available live on Facebook.

“We’re always looking to try innovative and new things for us,” says Albert “Scooter” Vertino, GM, NBA Digital/SVP, programming, Turner Sports. “This is the first year that we have strategically placed NBA Real Training Camp all in the same week. So we figured, let’s add a cherry on top of that sundae and do something special on one of these days.”

The live simulcast was available for viewers on NBA TV’s Facebook page, and NBA TV followers could find it in their News Feed, a fairly easy way to get valuable content to the most loyal viewers/followers. The noon ET start time (the simulcast was originally scheduled for 11 a.m. but was delayed when Cavs head coach David Blatt pushed the start of practice back an hour) also fell into a perfect time for streaming: in the middle of the work day, which seems to be “primetime” for digital sports.

“Noon is perfect for this type on initiative,” says Vertino. “A large portion of your audience is going to be at their computer or on their mobile phone or tablet. They [have ready access] to this type of content.”

Turner hopes that this digital first is just the first of many such partnerships.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Facebook on this and thrilled that they saw this as an opportunity for both parties involved,” says Vertino. “It would be awesome if this opened up newer, better, bigger doors in the future.”

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