NBA Digital, the broadband arm of the National Basketball Association, has launched a new statistics-intensive product for its Website, NBA.com, which is designed to serve as a live companion to game telecasts on ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV.
The new NBA TV Companion from NBA Digital, which the league jointly manages with Turner Sports, is aimed at the increasing number of consumers who watch TV while simultaneously operating a PC or laptop. In some ways, it is similar to an effort by ABC Sports in the late 90s to create an interactive, live Web broadcast that supplemented live National Football League coverage on “Monday Night Football.”
The full-screen NBA TV Companion feature aims to provide an “in-arena experience” with social media integration and video highlight packages that complement every single live NBA telecast, and includes prominently displayed network graphics and tune-in messaging designed to drive fans to the telecast.
The new service, which can be accessed through http://www.nba.com/tvc/info.html, will simulate the experience of sitting in an NBA arena press box by providing fans with pre-game media notes, real-time statistical information, breaking news, 3D shot charts, and play-by-play analysis. The NBA TV Companion also integrates social networking features which allow users to interact with other fans, team personnel, and on-air talent in real time. It offers instant access to popular social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and Yahoo! to allow fans to participate in both live forum discussions and private chats with friends.
The NBA TV Companion will also feature special halftime and postgame reports that include video highlight packages, updated box scores and leaderboards. It also gives fans the ability to follow the action via an interactive shot-tracker feature, which displays the location of each shot taken on the court.
NBA team sites also will have team-specific versions of the TV Companion that will automatically become the default homepage when that team is playing a game.
“The NBA TV Companion provides fans with a user-friendly experience to lean back and easily access information while enjoying the game on television,” said NBA Digital SVP and GM Bryan Perez in a statement. “We recognize the growing number of fans who simultaneously consume the NBA via television and the Internet, and this is the perfect broadcast companion for fans to experience all the action on the court, while connecting with friends on their preferred social network.”
The NBA points to research indicating that 57 percent of Americans with Internet access at home report that they use the TV and Internet simultaneously. Of those Internet users, 27.9 percent of their time spent online is also spent watching TV.
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