clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The NBA is creating two new TV-style shows exclusively for Twitter

But Twitter isn’t getting any game broadcasts.

NBA on TNT / Facebook

Twitter has secured the rights to stream live video content from the NBA starting next season. It’s just not the content you’re thinking of.

The two sides have agreed on a new deal in which the NBA will create two “live original programs” (i.e., TV shows) that it will stream exclusively on Twitter. It will also double the number of NBA game highlights it posts to Twitter-owned properties, including Vine, and those highlights include ads that Twitter and the NBA make revenue from.

What Twitter is not getting, though, is the most valuable content the NBA has to offer: Actual game broadcasts. Recode reported earlier this month that the two sides were talking about a deal, and has heard from multiple sources that Twitter inquired about game broadcasts. Obviously that didn’t happen.

Still, Twitter is essentially getting its own NBA TV shows, which is the first made-for-Twitter content we can think of. (Besides all the tweets we like to send, of course.)

What we know about these shows is next to nothing. They are described in the press release as “weekly” programs, and the first show is listed as a “pregame show.”

And that’s about it.

We don’t know who will host or star in either show. We don’t know who will produce them, although Turner seems like a possible candidate given it handles most of the NBA’s other digital content, like its app and website. And we don’t know how they’ll be monetized, although some sort of pre-roll or midstream ads seem most likely.

The idea here for the NBA is to drum up excitement for its actual TV broadcasts, where the league and its broadcast partners make a lot of money from TV advertisers.

Twitter’s mission, on the other hand, is to drum up excitement for Twitter. It’s no secret the company is dealing with issues around its growth. Now it’s collecting all kinds of livestreaming content around live events, like the Republican and Democratic National Conventions and Wimbledon, to try to jump-start interest from new users.

The NBA deal is just the latest in a string of partnerships Twitter has announced in the past month. Twitter has promised the league an undisclosed sum of money in advertising sales for the shows. After that guarantee is met, the two sides will share any additional advertising revenue.*

* This story was updated to better clarify the terms of the deal.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.