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  • Writer's pictureJulian Jackson

Twitch to stream Fiba matches in first international federation deal

Updated: Oct 8, 2021

Twitch, the Amazon-owned online streaming platform, has signed its first agreement with a major international federation in a ‘multi-year’ agreement with the International Basketball Federation (Fiba).

By Martin Ross for SportBusiness - February 24, 2021

In its latest move into traditional team sports, Twitch has agreed a deal that allows Fiba to broadcast around 600 hours of live action each year from its tournaments on the international federation’s Twitch channel.

Other ‘unique programming formats’ that are ‘specifically designed to leverage Twitch’s unique interactive tools and features’ will also be broadcast, while fans can produce Fiba-related content on their own Twitch channels with the rights-holder providing access to official footage.

In the middle of last year, Twitch made its most significant move to date in ‘traditional’ sports with the creation of a standalone sports vertical on the back of a quartet of content deals with leading European football clubs.

As part of the tie-up with Twitch, which will begin in the spring, Fiba will establish a network of creators in major markets such as Australia, France, Italy, Spain and the US, who will also co-stream the live matches and create their own programming and formats for their own channels.

The matches that will be streamed live include all of Fiba’s 3×3 competitions, Fiba Europe’s EuroLeague Women and selected youth tournaments. Highlights and delayed coverage of Fiba national team, club competition and youth tournaments will be packaged and distributed for Twitch creators and basketball communities worldwide.

The Switzerland-based global governing body is looking to build further value for its commercial partners by reaching fans in a younger demographic through a platform traditionally associated with esports.

Andreas Zagklis, Fiba’s secretary general, said that the “innovative” agreement with Twitch would “further strengthen our strategic objective to enlarge the Fiba family by offering year-round basketball action to more fans, on an interactive service”.

Damian Burns, Twitch’s senior vice-president in Europe, Middle East and Africa, added: “Fiba is an innovation-driven organization and is passionate about bringing fans together in new interactive ways around livestreaming. This makes Fiba the perfect fit for Twitch.”

In recent years, Fiba has taken a proactive approach to live streaming its age-grade games on Facebook and YouTube. Fans can watch age-grade and regional matches as part of an initiative set up in 2014 that derives revenues from a share of advertising.

Across its various club and international competitions, Fiba has adopted a ‘hybrid’ approach to its streaming activities. It promotes (and invests in) the free live streaming for age-grade games that struggle for broadcast exposure, but also offers the subscription LiveBasketball.TV OTT service– to showcase its top properties.

Fiba set up its YouTube channel in 2007 and it currently has 1.09 million subscribers.

Twitch moves in on traditional sports

US-based rights-holders the NBA, NHL, women’s soccer’s NWSL and the UFC all have a presence on Twitch through their own standalone channels but Europe-based rights-holders have been slower to strike agreements with the platform.

Last July, Twitch introduced ‘Sports’ as its own category and relaunched the TwitchSports channel as it looked to tap into the uplift in athlete-led, user-generated and live streaming sports content. Previously, the sports content was housed under the ‘Sports & Fitness’ category.

Content deals with Real Madrid and English Premier League outfit Arsenal were agreed, with both teams establishing channels on the platform. These two deals were supplemented by agreements with Serie A outfit Juventus and Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain.

A tie-up with Spain’s LaLiga was announced some months later, while Germany’s Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) recently announced the launch of an official channel on the platform.

In 2019, the Rugby Football League became the UK’s first national governing body to stream matches live on Twitch. Formula One Management also experimented with the platform in a one-race deal to stream the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix in Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

This article originally appeared on SportBusiness HERE

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