Not about to be outdone by baseball, pro basketball is getting in on live streaming to mobile phones.
The National Basketball Association will announce its first set of applications that let fans watch games live on a mobile device Thursday. NBA League Pass Mobile will be available for download for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android phones starting Friday, the third day of the league's regular season. BlackBerry users will have to wait a bit longer, the league saying that application will arrive "by the end of the year."
The NBA follows Major League Baseball, which introduced its iPhone- and iPod Touch-compatible live streaming application in July, and a beta version of an Android app Wednesday.
The NBA's application will cost $39.99 and let users watch up to 40 live games per week via their smartphone, though local TV blackout rules will still apply. The app also has an option to watch some games on demand for up to two days later and comes with game alerts and live stats.
Currently there is not added benefit if customers are already subcribers to the NBA's League Pass TV package. But bundling the two is something the league is looking at for the future, said Bryan Perez, senior vice president and general manager of NBA Digital.
Besides the live streaming app, the NBA already has its Game Time and Game Time Lite apps on Apple's App Store, the Android Market, and BlackBerry App World. The Lite version is free and comes with scores, stats, standings, and team schedules. The $9.99 Game Time includes some on-demand video, game highlights, live game alerts, stats, and access to an NBA Twitter feed.
Perez said the league has made an aggressive push into mobile this year, mostly because it knows who its fans are.
"We have one of the younger demographics of the major sports leagues," he said. "As we look to the future of our fan base, they're consuming content in a much different way, and in many ways the mobile phone is the connection to the world for the youth market. If we want to cultivate fans and be innovative, we need to follow our fans where they're going."
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