Amazon Prime Video, the streaming platform of the global retail giant, has secured exclusive rights to broadcast North American basketball’s NBA in Brazil as the league looks to broaden its international profile.
The deal will see Amazon air up to four NBA games per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the upcoming 2022-23 regular season, as well as up to 24 playoff games and additional programming.
The broadcasts will all feature Portuguese commentary and local commentators.
Amazon’s coverage of the league will start today (October 18) when the Boston Celtics take on the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers play the Golden State Warriors.
Marie Donoghue, Amazon's global sports video vice president, said: “We are incredibly excited to expand our relationship with the NBA and give Brazilian basketball fans access to live NBA games and other exciting NBA content.
“The NBA content will bolster our already substantial global slate of sports content available on Prime Video.”
Amazon has recently been building its live sports portfolio, securing the American football’s NFL Thursday Night Football and Women’s National Basketball Association matches in the US. In the UK, it covers top-tier tennis and rugby, as well as 20 live games each year from English soccer’s top-tier Premier League.
Elsewhere, the broadcaster already holds exclusive rights to European soccer’s UEFA Champions League rights in Germany and Italy, as well as domestic Ligue 1 top-flight soccer in France.
Earlier this year, the streaming service secured domestic rights to the Copa do Brasil cup competition.
The NBA, meanwhile, has been keen to boost its international profile, setting its sights on Brazil with NBA Park, a state-of-the-art entertainment center set to open in the country next month. It also has 18 retail stores across the country.
The league said it reaches more than 45 million fans in Brazil via content and events, including NBA House, a themed space and meeting place for fans of the sport, which was opened in Sao Paulo during the NBA Finals in June.
During the 2021-22 season, Jr. NBA, the league’s global youth program, reached more than 3 million youths in the country.
Rafael Elia, NBA Latin America global media distribution vice president, said: “We are thrilled to work with Prime Video and build on our longstanding commitment of delivering NBA games and content to fans in Brazil on the devices and platforms they use most.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to diversify our distribution and provide fans with more best-in-class options to experience the excitement of the NBA.”
Yesterday (October 17), NBA Africa, the regional arm of the league, announced it had teamed up with sports retailer Shesha to open its first store on the continent. The new store will be located at Sandton City in Johannesburg, South Africa, and will feature authentic NBA merchandise and memorabilia.
The move follows the league’s announcement last month (September) that it will open its first store in the Middle East in partnership with Qatar-based retail company Al Mana Fashion Group, with the store to be located in the United Arab Emirate’s Yas Island.
Meanwhile, ESPN has signed an enhanced broadcast agreement in Australia for the NBA that will see the US cable sports broadcaster air an additional 48 regular season games live games for the 2022-23 season – an increase of two games per week.
The agreement also includes coverage of the NBA All-Star Weekend and the NBA Playoffs, as well as every game from the NBA Finals.
The deal begins when ESPN will broadcast seven games live across the opening five days of the season starting with Boston Celtic’s game.
ESPN holds media rights for the league in Australia in a deal struck in 2016 covering the 2016-17 to 2024-25 cycle. The original agreement saw ESPN air 188 regular-season games including five Boxing Day games, 52 playoff games, and every game of the NBA Finals.
It also included the NBA All-Star weekend, including the Rising Stars Challenge, All-Star Saturday Night, and the NNBA All-Star Game, as well as the NBA Summer League games.
Elsewhere, ESPN has also announced that all five NBA Christmas day games will be simulcast in the US on its sister free-to-air channel ABC, marking the first time the broadcast network has carried the full, five-game schedule.
ABC was initially set to simulcast the middle three games of the schedule – LA Lakers versus Dallas Mavericks, Milwaukee Bucks versus Boston Celtics, and Memphis Grizzlies versus Golden State Warriors – but has now added the Philadelphia Sixers versus New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns versus Denver Nuggets games to its programming.
Announcing the change on its Twitter account, ESPN said it would be the first time ever that all five NBA games on ESPN would be simulcast across the two networks.
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) October 17, 2022
The move comes as the NBA faces increased competition during the holiday from American football’s NFL, which this season has scheduled three Christmas games.
The 2022-23 NBA regular season starts today (October 18) and will end on April 10, 2023.
Image: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images