North America’s elite National Basketball Association (NBA) has announced a new partnership with streaming platform Roku in the US that will see it officially launch its first-ever dedicated FAST (free ad-supported streaming) channel on the platform.

Roku is the first FAST streaming partner of the league, and the NBA FAST channel will broadcast classic games from across the league’s history, ancillary content around games, highlights and recaps, and shoulder programming such as documentaries and original series’.

The FAST channel will also exclusively broadcast a minimum of 40 games from the NBA’s developmental G League competition in its 2024-25 season, across the US.

It will, in addition, play host to an NBA-centric content page called NBA Zone, distinct from Roku’s Sports Zone, which will house news surrounding the league and options for fans to stay up to date with their favorite teams. This zone will also feature integration from the NBA's own app in order to strengthen its news and content offering.

Greg Beaton, NBA senior vice president of content partnerships, stated his hope that the Roku channel will serve as an “enticement and on-ramp” for fans to purchase live NBA games.

Roku users will be able to purchase an option to view live games on the service through the NBA’s own premium game subscription service, NBA League Pass, which will be available as a paid add-on within Roku TV.

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The Bally Sports+ streaming service of the network of regional sports broadcasters is already available on Roku, meaning customers with the add-on are already able to watch local NBA games distributed by Bally in 19 jurisdictions. This however is the first official partnership between Roku and the NBA itself, and stands to be much more lucrative for Roku with the eyes that the top-tier of US basketball will bring to the ad-supported service.

Kristina Shepard, vice president of global advertising sales and partnerships at Roku, added: “Bringing the NBA and the number one TV streaming platform in the US together in one package is not only good for the fans – also great for advertisers looking to tap into the power of marketing in sports.

“We’re excited to give brands the opportunity to reach our expanding, highly engaged audience, with some of the biggest moments of the basketball season yet to come.”

Roku entered the live sports market in June 2023 through a partnership with all-electric motor racing series Formula E, while the service also distributes content from ice hockey’s NHL.

Given the global clamor for sports rights and national interest across the US in the NBA, it is likely that business interest in supporting Roku’s advertising model will grow through the NBA’s addition to the service.