I wonder whether Fox supports this or feels a little devalued by it. I suppose it depends on the approach by both Fox and the NBL - there could be significant cross-advertising here.
Hopefully this becomes an app on Telstra TV - that would be terrific.
I know there's real advantages to having a well resourced LK and Fox doing production of all games which previous NBL managements never had, but this announcement (albeit we haven't seen it in practice yet) shows why i've been pretty confident and supportive of the 'LK era' - even if he's a Victorian with a potential conflict of interest in the ownership of Melbourne United.
This shows business nous, there's real advertising capabilities by having as many people watching it as possible and you want to be able to spread the product as far and wide as possible.
#1 You'll likely get a lot of members watching this product since it's for free. Ultimately you don't want to be relying on members to be shelling out for both club membership and a subscription TV product - many won't.
#2 There would be a significant number of 18-40's who follow the NBL a little bit - to the extent of their local Sydney Kings, or their local Adelaide 36ers etc. who don't care enough to buy NBL TV or Fox Sports or even tune in and record on television but would do the simple action of clicking a button on their phone or accessing a website link to see their side play for free in high quality.
To be honest I think this is a pretty sizeable market in Australia already for the NBA. If it isn't already I think it could become athe same for the NBL or at least translated into one by providing free home & away games for a person's particular side.
#3 If you're a dedicated fan it's not even that easy to chuck in $50-$80 for an online streaming product of the NBL. The initial NBLTV was a disgrace, the NBL/Fox NBL Pass was much better and at least felt like there was some sort of return of value to it.
Effectively $30 for 6 months, it seems a pretty perfect price tag and it's easier to sell to a mainstream market. What they've done even better is the Netflix idea where they're charging a very reasonable price per month so you don't think about how much you're spending. $10-15 a month for Netflix seems reasonable - but you're shelling out $180 per year which is actually some serious dough. $5 a month for NBL seems even more reasonable than $30 for the season!
#4 Finallyyyyyy they're providing classic games. For too long the NBL have happily disregarded its own history. I have noticed NBL classics have played on Fox the last year or so, that was a nice step, but having it on demand is great for immersing those who are interested in the game. It also adds real value for those buying NBL TV. To be honest I won't be watching that 2001 Hawks v 36ers game....but I would be super keen to see the 2002/03 36ers v Razorbacks games 1 and 3 of the Grand Final which I never got to watch!
Of course - this product can provide real opportunities of progress for the NBL but it's reliant on a few things. Assuming the Telstra resources allow it to stream well and in HD, there's a few other things:
a) Accessibility - Have it on Telstra TV, easy to find phone app for iPhone & Android and a dedicated website for it and have NBL providing direct clear links to it.
b) Make registration as easy as humanly possible. Link registration to Facebook for those who use FB or just an e-mail/phone number with a password or even easier a pin code, ask what team you support and leave it at that. Don't make the effort outweigh interest in product just to data mine, the NBL can't afford to lose people on that basis, there's no where near enough genuinely or semi- interested people to have disregard for even the barely interested.
c) Make the website & app super easy to navigate and use, don't make people click through menu options to access, find a way to sell the current/good games visibly the moment they get on the app or website. I know Optus Premierleague is crap streaming wise, but maybe look at their front page, it does the job. It's got the games coming up, then replays, then shows then highlights below that have classics. Just have a tab that filters for Team and Rounds and you're set.
d) They should have the weekly Highlights Show that Fox produced available for streaming. They could even do NBL News or NBL Wrap on a Mon/Tues which shows the quickest of highlights of each match, results, press-conference quick bits, any injuries and ladder. It can go for 5-8 minutes.
Then do an NBL Preview on a Wed or Thurs, showing fixtures, last time they met for matches, analysis of form, key matchups - again lasting 5-8 minutes.