May 31, 2011

NBA announces digital partnership with Times Group

In a move that the Financial Times called a 'slam dunk' for basketball in India, the NBA took another major step in making sure that it increases its visibility in India, and ultimately, promote the game here, by announcing a 'digital partnership' with Times Internet Limited (TIL), a subsidiary of the Times Group that brings you The Times of India. This move comes just in time for the 2011 NBA Finals, as the Dallas Mavericks get ready to face the Miami Heat.

This partnership will ensure that the NBA will now have a dedicated section on the Times of India website:

The NBA becomes the second sports league after the Indian Premier League (IPL) to partner with the Times Group in India, highlighting the growing popularity of basketball and the NBA in India.

The new dedicated NBA section on the Times of India website will reach more than 12 million users per month. The NBA section will provide fans with comprehensive daily updates on the latest NBA news and scores, and will feature original columns from Times Group journalists. Daily video highlights, photo galleries and articles from NBA analysts will be offered, as well as in-depth features on the league and its players. Furthermore, journalists from the Times Group will travel to the 2011 NBA Finals to provide on-site and behind-the-scenes coverage for fans in India.

“We are proud to be associated with one of the most recognized sporting leagues in the World,” said Rishi Khiani, CEO, Times Internet Limited.” The NBA is the premier men's professional basketball league in North America. With the growing popularity of basketball globally, and more recently in India, we plan to leverage our audience to help popularize the sport further and drive newer audiences to the game.”

“The Times Group has unrivaled reach in India and they are an ideal partner to help showcase our game and engage more NBA fans throughout the country,” said Heidi Ueberroth, President, NBA International. “We are in the midst of one of our most exciting playoffs in recent memory and the innovative, in-depth sports coverage provided by the Times Group allows us to bring fans in India closer to the game.”

I check out the NBA section of the TOI website and it looks pretty good: Nothing too fancy, just simple, clear information, especially targeted towards the new, growing fanbase of the league in India. It has several news articles and features of current events - i.e., the Finals - sourced from, and it also features generic information such as profiles of other NBA teams, and some facts about the history of the NBA, such as previous champions and a list of the NBA's greatest players, with credentials and all!

(I'm kinda offended that my personal all-time favourite player Gary Payton isn't on it. Come on Times of India, show The Glove some love).

Good move by the NBA though - it will help promote the league to a bigger, more mainstream audience.

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