The National Basketball Association (NBA) has expanded its multi-year content deal with Verizon Media-owned Yahoo Sports, making them the official marketing partner for the professional US-based league.
NBA branded promos will now be marketed on Yahoo’s platforms, with Yahoo Sports courtside signage seen during nationally televised games, as well as activations at major events like Summer League and All-Star weekend.
Now tasked with deploying Virtual Reality (VR) games and new betting-related content from next week onwards, RYOT – Yahoo Sport’s sister company under the Verizon Media umbrella – will be joining as production partner during resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season, starting 30 July in Orlando, Florida.
“NBA League Pass in VR is exactly the kind of innovative solution we love to create with our partners. Working with the NBA to redefine the fan’s experience of the game has amazing implications for the future of sports and entertainment,” said Verizon Media chief executive Guru Gowrappan.
The deal will see RYOT produce NBA League Pass VR games live as the league restarts and is distributed to fans in immersive video format via the Facebook-owned Oculus Venues on Oculus Quest and Oculus Go headsets. RYOT takes over VR production rights from NextVR, which was acquired in a $100m deal by Apple earlier this year.
NBA president of global media distribution Bill Koenig commented: “With everything from fantasy games, sports betting integrations, gaming-focused content and NBA games in VR, there will be no shortage of opportunities to get closer to the game.”
Besides maintaining a media partnership with Intel, the NBA retains an active partnership with Oculus, where NBA League Pass VR games are distributed and will feature special betting and fantasy-centric overlays, possibly starting during seeding games at Disney World, Orlando.
In terms of expanding its content development and distribution, Yahoo’s fantasy basketball site will soon feature more betting-focused previews and recaps, while the company’s sportsbook will now feature NBA logos, with direct NBA content on the betting platform anticipated.
Yahoo will also be the presenting partner of the NBA’s playoff pick’em bracket challenges, with Yahoo maintaining fantasy and betting content production rights for the Women’s National Basketball Association and the NBA G-League.