NEW YORK – Yahoo Sports and the National Basketball Association (NBA) are joining forces to enhance the at-home fan experience with a multiyear relationship that will make Yahoo Sports an Official Marketing Partner of the league and RYOT a live virtual reality (VR) production partner during the NBA Restart in Orlando. The relationship will also allow Yahoo Sports to engage fans through fantasy and sports betting in unprecedented ways, including the right to create sports betting content and expanding Yahoo Sports’ existing distribution of NBA League Pass, the league’s premium live game subscription product, to include gaming integrations.
To bring an immersive, arena-like experience to fans, RYOT, an innovation studio, will produce live NBA games in VR and transport the physical games taking place at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex to fans at home via their Oculus devices. This next-gen content is the latest example of how VR can transform sports and entertainment by blurring the lines between virtual and physical.
More than a dozen live NBA League Pass games will be distributed in VR via Oculus Venues on Oculus Quest and Oculus Go headsets beginning Friday, July 31 through Friday, Aug. 14. As part of a partnership with Oculus to power the NBA League Pass VR experience during the NBA Restart, fans can enjoy the action by purchasing a Quest headset here. For a full schedule of games available in VR, visit nba.com/vr.
“RYOT’s powerful VR capabilities will deliver a truly immersive live experience at home, creating a seamless experience between the physical and digital world,” said Guru Gowrappan, CEO of Verizon Media. “NBA League Pass in VR is exactly the kind of innovative solution we love to create with our partners. Working with the NBA to redefine the fan’s experience of the game has amazing implications for the future of sports and entertainment.”
“As the NBA Restart tips off this week, our expanded relationship with Yahoo Sports will offer a variety of unique ways for fans to engage with the NBA,” said Bill Koenig, NBA President, Global Content & Media Distribution. “With everything from fantasy games, sports betting integrations, gaming-focused content and NBA games in VR, there will be no shortage of opportunities to get closer to the game.”
As part of the relationship, Yahoo Sports will continue to operate the exclusive seasonlong fantasy game of the NBA, create NBA-branded daily fantasy and sports betting integrations and will collaborate at marquee events including the NBA Draft presented by State Farm and NBA All-Star weekend. Yahoo Sports will also be the presenting partner of NBA Pick’Em: Playoffs Bracket Challenge and be integrated into NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and other NBA Digital assets, which are jointly managed by the NBA and Turner Sports.
Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Fantasy and Yahoo Sportsbook will deliver expanded NBA content throughout its platforms. This will include distribution of live, out-of-market games in NBA League Pass and opportunities to engage fans in fantasy and betting through digital overlays. The relationship will also include two shows focused on fantasy and betting to coincide with the NBA Conference Finals and NBA Finals. Game footage from the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League will also be used to create content, such as game previews and recaps, to help inform fans participating in seasonlong fantasy, daily fantasy and sports betting.
About the NBA
The NBA is a global sports and media business built around four professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the NBA G League and the NBA 2K League. The NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 47 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 100,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents. NBA rosters at the start of the 2019-20 season featured 108 international players from 38 countries and territories. NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA League Pass. The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 1.8 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms. Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.
About Verizon Media
Verizon Media, a division of Verizon Communications, Inc., houses a trusted media ecosystem of premium brands like Yahoo, TechCrunch and HuffPost to help people stay informed and entertained, communicate and transact, while creating new ways for advertisers and media partners to connect. From XR experiences to advertising and content technology, Verizon Media is an incubator of innovation and is revolutionizing the next generation of content creation in a 5G world.
About Yahoo Sports
Yahoo Sports is the mobile home for sports fans, offering the most robust access to live, local and primetime NFL games, an award-winning fantasy platform, comprehensive news, original series, scores, standings and more. With real-time, personalized content and immersive mobile experiences, Yahoo Sports is innovating for the next generation of sports fans. Download the Yahoo Sports app on iOS and Google Play and download the Yahoo Fantasy app on iOS and Google Play to sign-up and play with Yahoo Fantasy Sports. Yahoo Sports is part of Verizon Media.