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The NBA will livestream a bunch of U.S. Olympic exhibition basketball games on Facebook

The deal comes just two days after the NBA made a deal with Twitter, too.

Team USA (and Golden State Warriors) teammates Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.
Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Heads up, Twitter: the NBA is livestreaming its content on Facebook, too.

The NBA announced Thursday that it will stream all of the USA Basketball exhibition games, leading up to the Olympics later this year, on Facebook. That includes nine games from both the men’s and women’s teams over the next two weeks.

The broadcast you’ll find on Facebook is the same broadcast you’ll find through NBA TV. In order to watch the NBA TV stream online, though, you need to authenticate, which means logging in with your cable provider to prove your cable package includes NBA TV. On Facebook, the broadcast will be free.

The broadcast will be “Presented by Verizon,” which means you’ll see other NBA content where you’d usually see commercials. Facebook is not paying the NBA for the video broadcasts, but it’s also not getting any money from Verizon. The stream is considered “branded content,” which means the publisher (the NBA) makes money from the deal, but not Facebook, a company spokesperson said.

What’s interesting here is that the deal comes just two days after Twitter announced a deal with the NBA, with the league agreeing to produce two TV-style programs exclusively for the social network.

Twitter has been scooping up lots of live video deals recently, but we haven’t heard much from Facebook on this front since it took a look at some NFL streaming rights earlier this year. This week, the company streamed some of the Republican National Convention through a deal with ABC, and now it has a basketball deal, too. So it’s clearly an interest for both companies.

One issue, though, as we pointed out earlier this week, is that the majority of the video these companies are accumulating is not must-see TV. Twitter’s NBA deal, for example, doesn’t include any live game footage, and both companies streamed digital news coverage of the RNC, but not the prime-time TV coverage from CBS or ABC.

And, yes, Facebook is getting live basketball games with its NBA deal, but USA Basketball exhibition games — despite the star power of the players — are not on the same level as even regular-season NBA games. So it’s live basketball, but not live basketball that people carve time out of their schedules to watch.

Still, live video isn’t the worst thing to have at your disposal. If Facebook and Twitter can prove there is a digital audience for this lower-tier stuff, they may collect some of the more lucrative rights down the road.

The first game on Facebook will stream Friday, July 22, when the U.S. men’s team takes on Argentina.

This article originally appeared on

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