Verizon teams with NBA to bring exclusive content to Go90 video service

Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) struck a deal with the National Basketball Association to have exclusive NBA digital content appear in its Go90 over-the-top mobile video application, as part of a broad, multiyear content marketing agreement between the carrier and the sports league.

According to a USA Today report, which cited an unnamed source familiar with the matter, the deal is worth $400 million. Verizon declined to comment or disclose the terms of the arrangement.

As part of the deal, Go90, which was launched commercially in October, will feature extensive NBA content including daily highlights, original content and access to live out-of-market games through the NBA League Pass service. Additionally, all Go90 users will have access to exclusive NBA-related content and will be able to cut and share select clips and highlights via SMS, Facebook and Twitter.

Importantly, the NBA and Go90 will collaborate on bringing a number of original exclusive series to the service. Through the Go90 a la carte option, users will be able to purchase NBA League Pass live game packages including NBA Single Game, Team Pass or the full season package, providing access to nearly 1,000 live out-of-market games.

"We will be working with the NBA to create original exclusives for the platform, but all of those details are not currently available," Verizon spokesman Jerry Rizzo told FierceWireless. "Nonetheless, we're excited to bring this awesome content to Go90 and to offer this kind of access to unique experiences."

For Go90, the partnership with the NBA is a content coup and one that could boost the overall appeal and reach of the service, which is primarily aimed at millennials. "We have the opportunity here in the mobile world to go in and work with the leagues, and work with certain networks to bring just the live sports," Brian Angiolet, senior vice president for product and marketing for Go90, told The New York Times, which first reported the deal. "People ask why Go90 is different than Comcast's Watchable, YouTube, Netflix and Hulu. Live sports is one major reason why."

Angiolet said that Go90 is off to a strong start but he did not provide usage or audience statistics, according to the Times.

The ad-supported Go90 app launched Oct. 1 on iOS and Android to customers of all carriers, offering users 8,000 titles and over 35 exclusive original series. Verizon said that catalog includes 15 of the 30 most-viewed network shows and nine of the 15 most-viewed shows on the web. Go90 aims to offer a mix of content from traditional TV networks alongside online video from the likes of AwesomenessTV, Comedy Central, Food Network, ESPN, NFL Network, One World Sports, Discovery, VH1, MTV, SPIKE, TLC, Adult Swim, HGTV, BET, Investigation Discovery, New Form Digital and others.

Throughout the partnership, Verizon will be integrated into NBA TV,, the NBA App and other NBA Digital assets, which are jointly managed by the NBA and Turner Sports, along with national broadcast partners ABC, ESPN and TNT. Additionally, Verizon will collaborate with multiple unnamed NBA teams.

Under the agreement, Verizon will become the official wireless service provider of the NBA, Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), NBA Development League (NBA D-League) and USA Basketball (USAB). Verizon will also become the title partner of the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk platform.

The "Verizon Slam Dunk" contest will debut at NBA All-Star 2016 in Toronto and Verizon will become the presenting partner of the NBA All-Star Balloting Program and a partner of NBA Draft, NBA Summer League and the Jr. NBA. Beginning with the 2016 season, Verizon will have a marquee partnership with the WNBA.  

For more:
- see this release
- see this NYT article 
- see this USA Today article 
- see this Multichannel News article 

Related articles:
Analyst: Verizon taking a Google tack in its revenue strategy, focusing on consumer data via Go90
Verizon's Go90 mobile video app sees its star fall in Apple's App Store, but holds steady in Google Play
Analyst: Go90, Watchable the results of 'overthinking' the demand for millennial-focused content
Verizon reportedly spending $80M to market Go90 video service at launch, but app falls in App Store rankings
With $50M in ad commitments, Verizon's Go90 launches to #14 in iOS entertainment app rankings
Verizon's go90 launches wide on Android and iOS devices