British basketball fans will be able to watch extensive coverage of the NBA after BT Sport reached an exclusive agreement for live UK rights to top NBA games and programming in a multi-year deal.
Global sporting superstars including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony, and the likes of the Miami Heat, LA Lakers and New York Knicks, will have now have a fixed home on UK TV for the next few seasons, following uncertainty in a rights deal being struck at all this season.
BT’s coverage tips off on Sunday, December 1, as the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers, featuring Paul George and Roy Hibbert, take on West Coast rivals the LA Clippers, featuring Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, at 8.30pm UK time on BT Sport 2.
The multi-year agreement between BT Sport and the world’s premier men’s professional basketball league comes a month after the 2013-14 season began.
BT Sport will screen up to 200 games throughout the season across its three channels – BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN.
There will be up to seven live games per week throughout the regular season and the first and second rounds of the NBA Playoffs, as well as every game of the Conference Finals, culminating in the NBA Finals in June.
Full details of BT’s exact broadcast schedule and fixture list will be confirmed in due course.
As part of the partnership, fans will be able to watch GB’s Luol Deng and the Chicago Bulls take on the Brooklyn Nets as one of five scheduled games on BT Sport on Christmas Day, making BT Sport one of the few places to feature live televised sport on Christmas Day.
The Nets will face off against the Atlanta Hawks at a sell-out O2 Arena in London on January 16, as part of NBA Global Games 2014, a game which will be broadcast exclusively live on BT Sport.
Full digital rights are also included as part of the deal, allowing basketball fans to access selected games streamed live and for free on the BT Sport website and BT Sport App.
Commenting on securing a long-term deal for UK TV coverage of the NBA, Dan Markham, NBA Vice President, Media Distribution & Emerging Markets, said: “This is a very exciting step for the NBA and basketball fans in the UK and Ireland.
“With BT Sport’s first rate presentation and formidable portfolio of premium sports content, fans can now look forward to more NBA action than ever before in the UK and Ireland, including selected free streamed games.
“Through its innovative multi-platform offering of live NBA games, highlights, magazine shows and unique behind-the-scenes programming, BT Sport is the ideal partner to serve as the official broadcaster of the NBA.”
The exact length of BT Sport’s new long-term NBA deal has not been confirmed, but the agreement ensures UK fans can get their weekly fix of NBA action in one place throughout the season.
Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “BT Sport will be the new home of the NBA in the UK and Ireland.
“The NBA is simply the best basketball in the world. It is fast moving, high scoring and includes some the world’s most recognisable global sporting icons.
“Existing NBA fans will love our coverage, and we look forward to converting many more.”
Also included as part of BT Sport’s NBA deal will be All-Star Game, which takes place every year in February at the midway point of the NBA season.
A global celebration of basketball, NBA All-Star consists of a variety of basketball events and competitions, including the NBA Slam Dunk Contest and Three-Point Contest, culminating in the NBA All-Star Game.
The All-Star Game pits the league’s star players from the Eastern Conference against their counterparts from the Western Conference, with the starting line-up for each team selected by fans from around the globe.
Fans in the UK can vote for their favorite players for NBA All-Star 2014 by visiting nba.com/asb.
Several regular magazine shows will complement BT Sport’s live game coverage, including ‘NBA Action’, which combines weekly highlights and news, while ‘NBA Inside Stuff’ will provide fans with a unique insight into the lives of NBA stars both on and off the court.
NBA Tonight provides an overview of the NBA through interviews and analysis, plus live game build-up show NBA Countdown will be simulcast by BT Sport before selected fixtures.
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