NBA Looks to Score With First Live Game Webcast

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The National Basketball Association will air its first free live Webcast of a basketball game April 13 to test its audience in preparation for live Webcasts of games for its planned National Basketball Developmental League to debut early next year.


The game, at 8:30 p.m. EST, between the Dallas Mavericks and the Sacramento Kings will be Webcast on www.nba.com and www.real.com. The Webcast will be available to both broadband and narrowband Internet users in English and Spanish.


"We are running this experimental Webcast to collect fan feedback and usage patterns," said Brenda Spoonemore, vice president of Internet services at the National Basketball Association, New York. "Industrywide, people tend not to view streaming media for more than four to five minutes because the media might not be suited, it's not the right content or possibly because of poor camera angles."


The NBA is using the experimental Webcast to determine how to attract and retain Webcast viewers for future projects.


The NBA chose this game for the Webcast in an attempt to draw a large international audience because of the international player representation on both teams and because both teams are playoff contenders. "We want to see who will be interested," Spoonemore said.


The NBA later this week will announce the Webcast game through e-mails to its more than 250,000 opt-in newsletter subscribers and through advertisements on Real.com and NBA.com.


The Webcast will include full coverage of the game and live Webcasted analysis from yet-to-be-determined NBA.com TV personalities. The NBA does not plan any further Webcasts this season, Spoonemore said, adding that it may Webcast WNBA summer league games this summer.


The NBA will not run any sponsorships or advertisements in conjunction with the experimental Webcast, Spoonemore said. She said there are a variety of plans for revenue models for the developmental league Webcasts.


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