Alternate feeds are becoming a bigger and bigger part of sports broadcasting, and the one the NBA, Turner Sports and Twitter are combining for is an interesting idea. During the second half of 20 upcoming NBA on TNT games, including the All-Star Game and some playoff matches, they’ll have a single-camera feed available on Twitter that just follows a particular player. And the player will be picked via a fan vote on Twitter. Here are some quotes on it from the NBA release:
“The NBA Twitter community is among the most vibrant in sports and entertainment,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “While watching NBA games on TNT, our fans on Twitter can now enjoy a unique second screen experience that will further enhance the way fans engage with each other and the game.”
“Turner and the NBA have always taken a leadership position in providing fans with engaging experiences and this partnership with Twitter is the latest example,” said David Levy, President of Turner. “This complementary live stream on Twitter – from the distinct vantage point of the fan-voted, most coveted player on a given night – will provide an additive experience for fans to go along with the fully-produced coverage on TNT.”
“#NBATwitter is one of the most exciting and entertaining global conversations happening on Twitter today,” said Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter. “We’re thrilled to partner with the NBA and TNT to bring live video directly into the app to make it even better!”
The first game in question will be the All-Star Game, on Sunday, February 17. Other games will be announced later, as well as “exclusive commentators who will provide analysis for this second screen offering.” And there’s some merit to this; a feed focused on just following one player may not give the best sense of the overall game, but it can illustrate their particular off-ball movement better than a conventional broadcast, and there’s been some appeal for things following one particular player in the past (such as Kobe Doin’ Work). A live isocam with its own commentary is a further step there, and one that may be worth checking out.
Of course, there’s the potential for Twitter users to hijack any vote and have the camera follow an insignificant player, but that can maybe be avoided by limiting the options. And while this certainly won’t be something that everyone watching a NBA broadcast is interested in, putting the option out there for those who want to check it out isn’t a bad thing. This also is a way for Twitter to pick up some more live sports content without paying a premium for exclusive rights, and it’s a way for the NBA and the NBA on TNT to both draw some more attention. We’ll see how successful this is, but it’s definitely a notable move.