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NBA seals free-to-air Brazilian platform with Band

Brazilian media group Bandeirantes, which operates free-to-air and pay-television channels, has acquired rights for the NBA basketball league.

The one-year deal will cover the 2019-20 season, with the broadcaster committing to ensuring a return to free-to-air television in Brazil for the league’s regular-season-campaign following a 15-year absence.

Bandeirantes, which operates as Band, will show live coverage of two regular-season games per week, starting at 11.30pm Brasilia Standard Time on Thursdays and 8pm on Sundays.

The agreement includes a total of about 50 games, as well as the post-season NBA Finals.

According to the Máquina do Esporte news website, the broadcaster is exploring the possibility of launching the deal with coverage of the Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors clash tomorrow (Thursday), although scheduling plans have not been confirmed yet.

Band has scheduled an NBA 2019-20 season preview programme for 11:30pm tomorrow.

Rodrigo Vicentini, the NBA’s top executive in Brazil, said that the return of the NBA to free-to-air television illustrated the increasing interest in the NBA in the country.

Band tested the waters by providing coverage of the 2018-19 NBA Finals, which led to the league becoming an “object of desire”, the broadcaster’s sports director José Emílio Ambrósio said.

“The screening of last season’s finals was a very successful experience,” he added.

NBA regular-season games were last shown on free-to-air television in Brazil in 2004 (by RedeTV!).

The NBA has been looking to increase its profile in Brazil through greater broadcast exposure to add to its pay-tv rights agreements with the Globosat-owned SporTV and ESPN.

Bandeirantes already holds rights to the NBB, the top basketball league in Brazil. The broadcaster recently signed a three-year renewal to continue its free-to-air coverage, although there will no longer be live games on subscription sister channel BandSports after DAZN, the subscription OTT service, acquired rights.