NBB continues setting Brazilian firsts with Twitch deal

Novo Basquete Brasil (NBB), the top division of club basketball in Brazil, has furthered its reputation for innovation in the domestic media market by agreeing a rights deal with social video platform Twitch.

The deal between the competition’s organising body, the Liga Nacional de Basquete (LNB), and Twitch will grant the platform rights to stream 10 NBB matches during the current 2019 season. The agreement, a first for Brazilian sport, will commence with tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) meeting between Basquete Cearense and EC Pinheiros.

NBB matches will be broadcast on Twitch’s ‘Nunca Mexa’ channel and will be presented in a different style to regular broadcasts. Fans will be able to interact during matches, which will use former basketball player Douglas “Ninja” Viegas as a commentator.

Kouros Monadjemi, president of the LNB, said: “The consumption of sports content changes constantly and we are aware of this transformation. When we bet on a multi-platform model last season, we intended to distribute NBB Caixa content to as many fans as possible.

“Partnering with Twitch fully meets this strategy, adding one of the world’s largest streaming services to our list of media partners and seeking to reach and engage with a new audience.”

The NBB now has seven broadcast platforms in Brazil through linear television broadcasters Band, Fox Sports and ESPN, OTT subscription streaming platform DAZN and the digital and social media trio Facebook, Twitch and Twitter.

The NBB last month became the first sports league in Brazil to partner with short-form video platform TikTok. It was also the first Brazilian sports league to stream games live on Twitter and Facebook. The league has recently signed a string of new broadcast rights agreements, including a three-year contract with DAZN.

Twitch has been increasingly diversifying its sports rights portfolio beyond its original focus on esports. It has ties to basketball, having signed up as the first media rights partner for the NBA 2K League, the official esports competition of the North American league the NBA, in April 2018.

The tie-up was the second between Twitch and an NBA-affiliated league. In December 2017, the NBA G League, the NBA’s official developmental competition, began streaming up to six live games each week on Twitch, marking the first time a major sports league had tapped into several technological innovations unique to Twitch.