TuneIn provides its users with access to books, podcasts, radio shows, and now NBA games. The league has entered into an official partnership with the digital radio provider to allow fans to listen to every regular season game, playoffs, and events such as the draft and All-Star festivities. Access to the games will be behind a pay-wall.
The NBA is looking to take advantage of creative ways to raise its ancillary revenue. This is just another way to reach out to fans. TuneIn creates a subscriber base through a freemium method that has been successful for other digital companies such as Spotify, and Apple Music. Sports content should only increase that user base.
The NBA will get rights fees from the games that are distributed over the platform that it would normally not have received. Fans would either have to figure out a way to pirate the radio feed or just not listen to their team’s game. Now the NBA is just providing another method to reach fans and partner within a growing industry. The NBA can probably build on this relationship and offer exclusive content, interviews, podcasts, and other media to increase its reach.
The other reason this is a huge win for the NBA is it allows them to distribute its games globally. TuneIn has reach in China, which is the number one target for almost every major league in the world. This allows fans abroad a touch-point with the NBA product and will hopefully expand the game overseas.
Michael Colangelo is Managing Editor of The Fields of Green and Assistant Director at the USC Sports Business Institute.