NBA and Microsoft team up to build new streaming service

The NBA already operates League Pass, a premium subscription service that offers access to many out-of-market NBA games along with other content. (NBA/Microsoft)

The NBA and Microsoft today announced a new multiyear partnership that will include collaborative work on a new direct-to-consumer streaming service.

The companies said the upcoming DTC consumer platform will be built on Microsoft Azure and will use machine learning and artificial intelligence to deliver personalized game broadcasts and other content offerings. Microsoft said the platform will “reimagine how fans engage with the NBA from their devices by customizing and localizing experiences for the NBA's global fanbase.”

Beyond delivering live and on-demand game broadcasts through Microsoft Azure, the NBA's data sources and historical video archive will be used via cognitive search and data analytics. The companies said the platform will also allow NBA Digital – which is co-managed by the NBA and Turner Sports – to find new insights and add new dimensions to the game for fans, coaches and broadcasters.

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"This partnership with Microsoft will help us redefine the way our fans experience NBA basketball," said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement. "Our goal, working with Microsoft, is to create customized content that allows fans — whether they are in an NBA arena or watching from anywhere around the world — to immerse themselves in all aspects of the game and engage directly with our teams and players."

The NBA already operates League Pass, a premium subscription service that offers access to many out-of-market NBA games along with other content. League Pass costs $99.99 per year, but right now, with the current season on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak, the service is available for free.

Last year, NBA Digital made NBA TV available as a direct-to-consumer streaming app. It costs $6.99 per month or $29.99 per year and, like the linear channel, the NBA TV streaming service includes access to more than 100 exclusive live NBA games, original programming and a list of on-demand video content.

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