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NBA Leaps Into Xbox

‘League Pass’ Available Via Gaming Console 10/28/2012 8:00 PM Eastern

The National Basketball Association is planning to dish off its “NBA League Pass” live outof- market game package to the Xbox video gaming platform.

The deal with Microsoft’s Xbox Live service is one of a number of enhancements the league is making to its digital and NBA TV offerings this season as it hopes to continue the momentum built from record-setting performances during the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season, according to Christina Miller, senior vice president of NBA Digital, a co-partnership between the league and Turner Sports.

Consumers who purchase NBA League Pass, which currently retails for a suggested $179, will be able to watch 40 live out-of-market games per week on television, as well as via mobile phones and computers, according to the NBA. Fans can also purchase the package through the Xbox using the NBA’s Game Time application, which launched on last week.

The league is already experiencing preseason increases in League Pass purchases compared to last year, when a player lockout truncated the preseason, though Miller would not disclose specifics. Offering the package via Xbox Live will give NBA fans more choice, she said.

On the NBA TV front, Miller said the 60 million-subscriber network will feature a new state-of-the-art studio that will include a regulation basketball hoop, an authentic hardwood court throughout the entire studio, and an expansive half-court demonstration area. She added the new look will help enhance the network’s in studio shows Game Time, Fan Night, The Jump, The Beat and Fantasy Insider and continue to boost viewership of the channel. The network is coming off record-setting viewership during the 2011- 12 season, including a double-digit increase among adults 18-34 and adults 18-49.

NBA.com and its mobile service also received major facelifts during the off-season, which Miller believes will help build both usage and social media interaction during the season.

“When you look at the entire family of assets, it’s seamless, so a viewer can look at us at NBA.com, on mobile, can watch us on TV and can interact with [NBA League Pass] or any of our digital products and really feel that seamless nature of the brand tied very tightly together,” she said.

September