MANILA, Philippines – The NBA may not be on local television yet, but Filipino basketball fans can continue watching blockbuster games online for free this 2019-2020 season.
After drawing a record number of viewers on Facebook Watch and Twitter in the season opener, NBA Philippines said it would continue broadcasting games on both social media platforms every Monday and Thursday.
“We thought what better way to engage our social media fans than putting games there,” said NBA Philippines managing director Carlo Singson.
“It’s an experiment but given that we have two million visitors on our first game, I think it has so far been quite successful and we’re very excited about that.”
The NBA announced that select games will be aired on social media for free on tip-off week from October 23 to October 29.
NBA Philippines said around two million unique visitors watched Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers overpower LeBron James and the Lakers in the glitzy “Battle of LA” at the start of the season on Tuesday, October 22 (Wednesday, October 23, Philippine time).
“Outside of the US, there’s no other market with such a high affinity for Facebook and such a large audience for the NBA on Facebook [than the Philippines],” said Singson. “It is perfect. The audience is already there, we don’t have to build it.”
Expect NBA games, though, to be back on free TV “soon” as negotiations with local media continue. Two major broadcast networks had submitted a joint bid after Solar Entertainment terminated the airing of NBA Premium and Basketball TV (BTV) on all pay TV and local channels nationwide.
“We think television is an integral part of our distribution strategy,” Singson said on Friday, October 25 at the NBA Philippines headquarters. “We are in multiple discussions with multiple groups.”
Games will also continue to be available on NBA League Pass, the league’s live game subscription service, for as low as P100.
Annual and monthly pricing options are available for League Pass, Team Choice, and 3-Game Choice packages, while weekly pricing is also offered for the League Pass package.
“Our goal really is to optimize how our fans can enjoy and watch our games,” said Singson. “We’ve addd new features like the mobile view, which enables you to optimize viewing for smaller devices like phones and tablets, plus others.”
Singson said the Philippines now ranks No. 2 in League Pass subscription in the Asia-Pacific region behind Australia.
“Social media will be an important part of our strategy moving forward,” he said. “It’s part of a broader strategy that includes all platforms.”
“For us it’s a shift that’s part of our evolution,” said Singson. – Rappler.com