Twitter-NBA deal marks first exclusive original shows for social network, company confirms

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Twitter’s latest deal with the NBA marks one first for the social network and one for its relationship with the sports league.

First the deal — a two-year extension and expansion of the deal originally struck between Twitter and the NBA in 2013 — marks the first time that Twitter has signed a deal with another company to produce original programs exclusively for Twitter, a Twitter spokesperson confirmed. The NBA, working with Turner, will produce two original live shows that will air on Twitter later this year, including a weekly pre-game show. An NBA spokesperson said that details are still being finalized over where exactly the shows will air on Twitter, though the Twitter spokesperson said that the NBA’s Twitter accounts will be among them.

Second the deal marks a shift in how the two companies sell ads against the NBA’s video clips posted to Twitter. Those clips will still carry pre-roll ads as part of Twitter’s Amplify program, but now Twitter will be taking the exclusive reins over the ad sales and expanding those sales globally, according to the company spokesperson. The same thing happened last year when the NFL re-upped its Amplify deal with Twitter for an additional two years.

And Twitter will be getting a lot more content from the NBA to pitch to advertisers. The NBA is expected to post twice as many videos to Twitter, Vine and Periscope as it has in past years. The NBA will still be uploading game highlights, player arrivals, “Day in the Life” videos, press conferences and player interviews. But in addition to the original shows — which will stream live and be available as replays exclusively on Twitter for some time — the league will post more clips from its biggest events like All-Star Weekend, the playoffs and the NBA Draft.

BUT there’s one big type of programming missing from the deal: livestreams of actual NBA games. That’s a bummer but maybe not forever. Eight months passed between when the NFL re-upped its deal with Twitter last year and then sold the social network digital rights to its Thursday Night Games this year.


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