Facebook’s importance as a place for sports streaming is continuing to grow. There have been plenty of broadcasts on Facebook Live before, from MLB teams doing behind-the-scenes content to an unexpected ACC lacrosse championship broadcast, and key Facebook executives like VP of partnerships Dan Rose have talked about even more, so USA Basketball’s announcement Friday that their men’s and women’s pre-Olympic exhibition games will be streamed on Facebook for the first time (beginning with Friday night’s men’s game against Argentina at 9 p.m. Eastern) seems like a natural fit. There won’t be many production costs here, as these broadcasts will just be simulcasts of the NBA TV feed. Here are the details of the personnel and the schedule:
NBA TV will televise all nine USA Basketball exhibition games. Game talent will include Marv Albert and Matt Winer (play-by-play), Olympic gold medalists Grant Hill, Reggie Miller and Steve Smith (analysts) and reporter Jared Greenberg for the men’s games. Vince Cellini (play-by-play) will be joined by four-time gold medalist Lisa Leslie (analyst) and reporter Kristen Ledlow for the women’s games.
Facebook Simulcast Schedule of NBA TV’s USA Basketball Exhibition Game Telecasts
Fri., July 22, at 9 p.m. ET USA Men’s National Team vs. Argentina
Sun., July 24, at 8 p.m. ET USA Men’s National Team vs. China
Mon., July 25, at 10 p.m. ET USA Women’s National Team vs. USA Basketball Select Team
Tue., July 26, at 10 p.m. ET USA Men’s National Team vs. China
Wed., July 27, at 7:30 p.m. ET USA Women’s National Team vs. France
Fri., July 29, at 7 p.m. ET USA Women’s National Team vs. Canada
Fri., July 29, at 9 p.m. ET USA Men’s National Team vs. Venezuela
Sun., July 31, at 4 p.m. ET USA Women’s National Team vs. Australia
Mon., Aug. 1, at 8 p.m. ET USA Men’s National Team vs. Nigeria
This makes obvious sense for USA Basketball, which can further boost its reach through Facebook without presumably adding too much in the way of costs. It also makes sense for Facebook, as this is good content that should buttress their importance in the streaming ecosystem. It may be a little bit of a harder sell for NBA TV, as people tuning into the Facebook broadcast instead of the televised one won’t count in the ratings, but many of those may not have chosen to watch it anyway; those who have serious plans to watch these games and have NBA TV probably are still going to do it on television. This is an interesting foray into further game streaming, and it will be worth keeping an eye on the numbers that emerge from it.