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Players to profit from New Zealand’s NBL streaming service

Tom Abercrombie of the Saints goes to the basket over Ethan Rusbatch of the Hawks during the NBL Grand Final (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

New Zealand’s National Basketball League has launched a direct-to-consumer global streaming service allowing viewers outside the country to pay to watch coverage of the competition.

Profits from the new service known as LeaguePass.co.nz, will be split between the league, the clubs, and the players.

New Zealand’s National Basketball League (NBL) will tip-off a shortened, 56-game season on June 23, and as one of the few professional basketball leagues in operation is keen to capture the potential global viewership.

Access to coverage of the full 2020 season is available at a discounted rate of NZ$14.99 (€8.46/$9.28) until June 5, after which the price increases to NZ$24.99. Day passes covering two games cost NZ$4.95.

The service will be geo-blocked in New Zealand, locally games will be broadcast by Sky Sport, including some select games on Sky Sport Now, Sky Sport Next, Prime TV, Stuff and the Tribe Sports App.

NBL General Manager Justin Nelson said: “The teams’ revenue sources are challenged this year too, so we needed to help them and the players. We think LeaguePass.co.nz is an enticing option for the basketball hungry audience and could potentially be a great financial boost for the players, as well as the teams and their profiles.

“We think this might be a first. I don’t know of another sport in New Zealand where players have been given a share of the pay-per-view revenue like this.” Nelson added.

The NBL says it is also close to signing an insurer to cover player income, and they are working with health experts, strength and conditioning trainers, and physiotherapists to ensure player welfare is thoroughly covered for the upcoming six-week stretch.

The New Zealand government has given the green light for professional sport in the country to resume, after lowering the Covid-19 alert level to two. The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country stands at 1154 with 21 deaths, today the country marks five consecutive days without a new case.