After acquiring sports-news service Bleacher Report in 2012, Turner is taking the next step and funneling those stories into a new live sports streaming service, B/R Live, launching Saturday, April 7 on iOs, Android and the web.
“Everyone knows that viewing habits are continuing to change and we must adapt,” said David Levy, president of Turner, at a press conference in New York City on Tuesday.
Described as “the central hub for both the discovery and the consumption of live sports content,” B/R Live will give fans the opportunity to find and view sports content anywhere, anytime and on the screen of their choice. Powered by Turner’s iStreamPlanet, the first event available through the service will feature former NFL player Johnny Manziel’s debut in fledgling development football organization, the Spring League.
“When we acquired Bleacher Report six years ago, we envisioned a time when the brand could become a virtual network, and that time is now,” said Levy. “Our first offerings at B/R Live will enable us to target new fans and deliver content to our television networks. It also provides us with a great deal of flexibility in the content experiences we offer, and the opportunity to engage fans when and where they crave the content.”
”At Turner Sports, we have partners that share that vision to drive innovation and place the fan first,” added Levy.
Bleacher Report is a digital destination for millennial sports fans featuring original content such as animated entries Gridiron Heights and Game of Zones, an NFL take-off on HBO mega-hit Game of Thrones.
“Bleacher Report has become a brand known for its ability to reshape the way passionate sports fans consume and share content,” said Dave Finocchio, CEO of Bleacher Report. “We capture the intersection of sports and culture in a way that I think will make young sports fans happy for generations to come. And today illustrates another key step in B/R’s continued evolution”
The B/R Live streaming platform, which will provide direct access to live games for purchase on an individual or subscription basis, will initially offer a trio of specific services.
The first is the ability to find and watch sports by scrolling through a feed of real-time sporting events. Second is the aggregation of live-sports content specific to each individual fan. And the third is the ability for fans to locate and watch their favorite games.
The range of live sports at B/R Live will include 65 NCAA Championships, NBA League Pass games, the PGA Championship, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, the National Lacrosse League, Red Bull Global Rallycross and World Arm Wrestling.
“In this hub for live programming, you will be able to get full-length live NBA games, and those initially will be $7. We are still experimenting with pricing,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “Then I think the idea is to take a page from the virtual world of video games where there are micro-transactions, where a fan can watch for any length or come back to the game at any point.”
The NBA League Pass, in particular, will allow fans to purchase and watch live NBA games in progress at a reduced price. It will be available on B/R Live, the NBA App and NBA.com, and will make its debut in the 2018-19 regular season.
“With this huge social media community we have, whether you are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat, you may see something of interest at any point in the game and you can tune-in at that point,” Silver added. “When you have a game that might be over two hours long, not every fan can commit that amount of time and our goal is to deliver them a customized experience.”
“Across today’s media landscape, the challenge for any fan is to find the event they want, view it and connect to it,” said Lenny Daniels, president of Turner Sports. “Utilizing B/R Live, we will place ourselves in the position of that fan and help them connect directly to the game they want, wherever it is. B/R Live has been created with the fan at the center of our universe.”
[Image courtesy of Marc Berman]