Verizon to Stream Eight NBA Games in Expanded Partnership

(Bloomberg) -- Verizon Communications Inc. is adding to its sports streaming with an expanded National Basketball Association deal that includes eight live games free for any mobile phone user and a discount on League Pass live game subscriptions.

The new programming, including a planned highlights show, will be available on phones and tablets starting Feb. 18 at Verizon properties including Yahoo Sports and go90, the parties said Wednesday in a statement. The launch coincides with the NBA All-Star weekend.

“In the coming years, the live game broadcast is going to look different,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a Yahoo Sports webcast Wednesday. “People want to lean forward in an active way, whether it is fantasy or social media.”

Verizon, the largest U.S. wireless service, has “moved on” from exploring potential acquisitions of big companies in favor of obtaining popular programming like live sports to attract subscribers and generate advertising revenue. Last month, the carrier signed an accord with the NFL to stream prime-time games, the 2018 playoffs and the Super Bowl.

As part of the new deal Verizon and the NBA have created a $25 million innovation fund to develop more features like daily Fantasy or quarter-by-quarter Fantasy to keep fans engaged, Silver and Verizon Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam said on the webcast. Yahoo Fantasy will be overhauled to be more like an official NBA Fantasy format.

The arrangement expands on a partnership announced in November 2015, and is available to any wireless subscriber with any carrier.

Fans who want more than the eight games can pay $99 for League Pass for the remainder of the season. A full-season subscription can cost as much as $250 a year.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.