NBA App The NBA announced additions and innovations to the NBA App on Tuesday. Credit: NBA

On Tuesday, the National Basketball Association announced that the NBA App is undergoing a significant transformation. The app will aim to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for NBA fans this coming season with substantial leaps in innovation and customization.

“The NBA App — which generated more than one billion video views this past season, more than triple the prior year’s total — will deliver unique experiences through advanced personalization features, enhanced live game viewing options, and expanded content offerings that will bring fans closer to the game,” the NBA announced in a press release.

Microsoft’s Azure AI services will help power the app to deliver a “deepened personalized experience” on the app. The league plans to use a ‘vertical’ style of social media interface, not unlike TikTok and Instagram stories for “Moments” on the app throughout the year.

‘The Starting 5′ newsletter, featuring contributions from former and current players, is also pushed as a focal point of the app. The league will also offer an exclusive documentary on the NBA Champion Denver Nuggets’ 2022-23 championship season entitled, “Bring it Home.” Season 2 of “Pass The Rock” will also be included, and stars Jalen Brunson, Jaren Jackson Jr. Paolo Banchero, and Tyrese Haliburton will be featured this season. Also, “NBA Style” will discuss the league’s fashion trends, which is set to include sneaker talk.

In an exclusive conversation with Awful Announcing, NBA VP Head of DTC Content Sarah Crennan was among a few NBA executives to speak about the new additions to the NBA App.

Crennan spoke highly of the app and what it intends to bring to fans this season. In addition to the traditional feed with scores and highlights, more structure has been included through different tabs on the app. “And what the tabs will allow us to do is go fully immersive on a set of topics,” Crennan said. “Whether it be a team that’s your favorite or players that you follow or, you know, a more nuanced topic such as All-Star Saturday Night, for example.

“What we believe is that personalization is deeply important to the fan experience. But we also want to balance that,” Crennan said.

“NBA CrunchTime,” the NBA’s version of a whip-around show, will be back once again this season. Jared Greenberg, who has appeared on NBA TV and the NBA on TNT, will lead command for the show. It promises to be around for “more than 50 episodes,” which the NBA says is twice more than last season’s go at it. NBA TV will produce the whip-around show set to debut on October 30.

Additionally, the app plans to follow the league’s first In-Season Tournament. “Race for the NBA Cup,” one of a few offerings the app will provide, promises to give fans “exclusive access” to the competition.

Also included will be “Coaches Corner,” which Crennan said the coaches on staff “love” participating in. The show will have X’s and O’s breakdowns, with Nekias Duncan and Steve Jones specifically mentioned as hosts of sessions of the show.

Plus, the NBA Fitness section will provide in-depth looks at players and coaches’ “health and fitness journeys” in an attempt to become “a premier destination for health and fitness” using the NBA’s “vast network of trainers and partners.”

“HooperVision” and an “NBABet” are also hyped as alternate telecast options along with “NBA Strategy Stream.”

Like anything, the NBA is moving along with the times. Streaming has overtaken the marketplace. Between League Pass, the new app, and a user-friendly social media presence, the NBA has been able to infiltrate the Internet and have a resounding presence. This offering falls under the ‘Direct to Consumer’ pipeline that is emerging.

“This is the culmination of, you know, looking ahead, 5 or 6 years ago at where the industry was moving,” Jeff Geels, the NBA SVP Head of DTC Business, Direct to Consumer Products, Technology & Operations, said to AA. “That would be a platform for media distribution for fan engagement, etc. So that’s how we got here. And as we sit here in 2023 now, you know, a lot of the future-proofing that we built into the platform over the last four or five years is exactly what we need. So one of the considerations was, how can we be prepared for the changing local media distribution of our teams are facing to be prepared to support them?”

Recently, regional sports networks have begun to fold. Bally Sports Arizona folded recently, which led to the Phoenix Suns landing on local affiliates. The Utah Jazz recently made a similar move, and the Los Angeles Clippers soon will as well. It’s a rapidly changing industry, and the NBA is well aware.

They’re also well aware of how important the fan experience is and what their fans want and bring to the table, which, to Crennan, led with two points.

“Everything we’ve put in front of our fans, they’ve really adapted to. And to me, there are kind of two points there,” Crennan said. “Number one is that we have a far savvier consumer who kind of understands how to evolve along with median technology. But two, that we’re really putting compelling fan experiences out there that are working and are resonating.”

Fans will be able to access NBA League Pass through the NBA App. According to the release, an “enhanced live game streaming experience” will allow for easier navigation through broadcast and language options. Packages are available on both NBA.com and the NBA app, the release says, for $149.99/year ($22.99/month) and will allow access to 800+ live out-of-market games.

The NBA App, free to download, can be found here. It is offered on both Apple and Android.

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022