SBS confirms multi-year free-to-air deal with the NBA and WNBA

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 9 September 2019

The National Basketball Association (NBA), the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and SBS have confirmed a multi-year partnership to broadcast live NBA and WNBA games in Australia.

The deal, which AdNews has previously revealed was taking place in May, will see SBS broadcast two live, regular-season NBA games per week in HD on its SBS Viceland channel and on its streaming platform SBS On Demand.

NBA games will also be available on-demand on SBS On Demand and additional NBA content will be featured on SBS’s sport website, beginning with the 2019-20 NBA season.

The two-year deal will cover the NBA 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons, as well as the WNBA 2020 and 2021 seasons.

“Premium international sports continue to be a focus of SBS’s offering and we are thrilled to partner with the NBA and the WNBA to bring live coverage back to Australians for free,” SBS managing director James Taylor says.

“The NBA and the WNBA are among the world’s most diverse leagues and basketball is an increasingly popular sport. Building on our recently announced deal with the NBL, these partnerships with the NBA and the WNBA make SBS the exclusive free-to-air home of basketball in Australia and are a great opportunity to bring new audiences, particularly younger viewers, to SBS Viceland and SBS On Demand.”

SBS will also broadcast one live WNBA game per week beginning with the 2020 season on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand throughout the WNBA regular season and a selection of games from the first three rounds of the WNBA Playoffs.

The hybrid commercial and public free-to-air network continues to ramp up its involvement in basketball, revealing in July that it would also enter into a two-year deal with the National Basketball League, Australia's tier one tournament.

Under that deal fans will have access to the entire 2019-20 Hungry Jack’s NBL season for free, with 67 games broadcast on SBS Viceland.

“We are excited to partner with SBS to bring NBA and WNBA games and programming to a nationwide audience on free-to-air television,” NBA Asia head of global content and media distribution Ramez Sheikh says.

“These partnerships show that fans in Australia have a growing demand for basketball content and beginning next season they will enjoy outstanding NBA and WNBA coverage on SBS across broadcast and digital.”

Fourteen players from Australia were on NBA rosters during the 2018-19 season, including: Deng Adel, Aron Baynes, Andrew Bogut, Jonah Bolden, Ryan Broekhoff, Mitch Creek, Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum, Isaac Humphries, Joe Ingles, Kyrie Irving, Thon Maker, Patty Mills and Ben Simmons.

The 2019 WNBA season featured eight players from Australia on opening-night rosters, including: Rebecca Allen (New York Liberty), Liz Cambage (Las Vegas Aces), Kelsey Griffin (Minnesota Lynx), Ezi Magbegor (Seattle Storm), Leilani Mitchell (Phoenix Mercury), Alanna Smith (Phoenix Mercury), Steph Talbot (Phoenix Mercury) and Sami Whitcomb (Seattle Storm).

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