Dallas Mavericks To Take Interactive Shot

Interactive TV is getting a little maverick-y.

Mark Cuban's Dallas Mavericks pro basketball team announced a deal Monday with interactive-TV developer BIAP to create an on-screen "widget" that will provide scores, breaking news and other content to viewers.

The Mavericks team widget is expected to be available for deployment before the start of the 2009-10 NBA season this fall.

The app, which will be written to CableLabs' Enhanced Binary Interchange Format (EBIF), is planned to include real-time statistics and scores, breaking team news, video highlights, interviews and in-game play-by-play info.

"We believe in the future of the EBIF platform and in interactive television," Cuban said in a statement. "It is a natural extension to give Mavs fans and HDNet viewers the best experience we can if they're not in a seat at the game."

Cuban, in addition to owning the Mavericks, is co-founder and chairman of high-definition network HDNet.

Mavericks spokesman Ken Bonzon said the application will be an unbound application - meaning it is not tied to a specific programming stream - and will not be limited to HDNet.

CableLabs' EBIF specification is designed to run on virtually any digital set-top box currently in use. The Dallas Mavericks, together with BIAP, plan to negotiate with cable operators to offer the EBIF app to their subscribers.

Plano, Texas-based BIAP and the Mavericks also plans to make the "team widget" template available to other professional sports franchises, as well as NCAA sports teams.