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NBL 2012/13: We have a digital platform – sort of

Logo is used under a fair use rationale. The NBL.TV trademark is owned by the NBL Commission.

Today, the NBL announced NBL.TV, their new digital platform where you can watch all games in the NBL. It’s an idea that I suggested to them back in December, and looks very similar to the idea I suggested.Marc

While this is brilliant news, what isn’t great is the service cannot be used by New Zealanders. Can I understand this? Yeah, sure I can. The NBL has little option. The only reason the NBL can do this in Australia is because of the redrafting of their contract with Network TEN after the contract was breached on a number of occasions during the 2011/12 season by TEN. SKY TV haven’t breached their contract, and as such, their contract stands. I don’t blame the NBL. I blame SKY TV.

Marc Howard, the NBL’s media person, replied to a tweet I sent about the issue:

The problem is, in New Zealand, the NBL is exclusively on a pay-to-view channel. In Australia, it’s free-to-air. That’s not as minor a thing as you think, given the Breakers are currently back-to-back NBL champions (nek minit, threpeat? :D) I know I can’t afford SKY. I know that a lot of the Breakers/NBL fans I know can’t afford SKY. The NBL is losing out here. It would be great to see more support for the NBL in New Zealand. It’s starting to happen with the Breakers being in with a good chance for the threpeat, but it would happen so much quicker if people can afford to watch away games. It also means the team can’t play in-season games outside of Auckland, because it would mean their main supporter base wouldn’t necessarily be able to watch the games.

It will be interesting to see what the announcement of the NZ coverage is, but I would be greatly surprised if it doesn’t involve only content on SKY. What would be great is if SKY was reasonable enough to provide NBL content via iSKY, with some sort of ability to just pay for the NBL. If not, we’ll just have to wait until the NBL has to renegotiate their contract for New Zealand television.

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