Say you're working late and can't make it to the Ford Center to watch Oklahoma City's new NBA team play its game that night. Instead, you log on to your computer and watch streaming video of the team's game broadcast.
Sound far-fetched? Not if the NBA has its way. The league is aggresively promoting three new Internet elements — video streaming in home markets, interactive TV and video-on-demand — for the upcoming season. Ed Desser, a media consultant for Oklahoma City's team, said many details have yet to be worked out, and didn't expect the team to offer the Internet elements anytime soon. "There are whole bunch of issues — technical, business, rights, etc. — to be worked out,” he said. "It's a fairly complicated process when you're dealing with sports rights.” The NBA first must approve the new Internet elements, which Desser said could happen at the Board of Governors meeting this fall. Desser said he did expect a few teams will begin offering the Web coverage this season. "My guess is that there probably would be a handful of teams, particularly those like the 76ers or the Knicks, where you have the team, the regional sports network and the cable operator all under common ownership,” he said. The league will use geo-blocking technology to ensure that people outside of a team's territory will not be able to access its games online to comply with local marketing rules, the SportsBusiness Journal reported. Regional sports networks, which pay huge sums for TV rights, and their cable and satellite carriers likely will show some concern that Web coverage will cut into their TV ratings.
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Can't make it to see Kevin Durant at the Ford Center? You may be able to watch the game on the Internet. Associated press