Co-managed by Turner and the NBA, NBA League pass is the league’s product that lets users live stream every game all season long. The product costs $199.99 for every team or $119.99 for one team, and games can be watched on most connected devices including your phone, tablet or smart TV.
But here’s the thing: the stream that League Pass gives you to watch on your 5-inch phone is the same stream you’d watch on your 50-inch TV. This results in a lot of squinting and wishing you were just at home in front of your TV instead of struggling to watch on your phone. Essentially it makes mobile viewing a last resort.
But today that changes. The league is announcing NBA Mobile View, a new option for League Pass subscribers. Just like how fans can currently select between “home” or “away” broadcasts for each game, Mobile View will be a third option that gives a totally different viewing experience – and one that is optimized for watching on a smaller screen like a phone.
The most notable difference will be a zoomed in view. The league gave an example of a play where you could see that a player was defending the Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving, but on such a small screen it’s impossible to tell who the player actually was. With Mobile View you can easily see the name on the back of each player’s jersey, as well as other details you’d typically only be able to see on a big screen.
Check out the video below for a comparison between the two videos:
While you may say this just looks like they turned the zoom on, the process is actually a lot more in depth. All 29 arenas will get a new dedicated camera, cameraman, and producer that are all on-site for each game. And while the feed will mainly be video from the new zoomed-in camera, the dedicated mobile producer will be able to bring in shots and angles from other feeds to make sure Mobile View viewers aren’t missing out on anything.
For now, the stream will keep the same graphics package (like scores and on-video text overlays) as a regular stream, but that may change. Also the audio is currently coming from the “home” broadcast, but there may be an option in the future to listen to an away broadcast while watching Mobile View.
The league explained that this product launch was fan-driven. Seventy percent of fans today are accessing league pass from their mobile device, and that number is presumably growing every year. The league even experimented last year by posting two versions of game highlights on their social media pages – one regular and one with Mobile View. They found that viewers on mobile interacted 2.5X more with the Mobile View content compared to the standard version.
Overall, this new view will be huge for basketball fans that care about the game enough to want to know details like which player has the ball and what plays are being run. Casual fans may not care as much, but will still appreciate being able to see more of the action.
But either way it should make it more enjoyable to watch games on mobile – especially at a time where most fans see watching on their phone as a last resort, because the experience on a full-sized TV is always so much better.
This also puts the pressure on other leagues’ mobile viewing product like NFL Sunday Ticket – which pays basically zero attention to their mobile streams.
Mobile View launches Tuesday, and can be previewed for a week during League Pass’ trial period.