The Los Angeles Clippers are experimenting with a live streaming service to accompany games that could become the future of NBA broadcasts. Law Murray of The Athletic conducted an interview [subscription required] with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer on ClipperVision, the latest attempt to bring fan viewers and NBA action into the same space outside the traditional arena.
ClipperVision involves former NBA players—in this case Baron Davis, Jamal Crawford, and Paul Pierce—commenting on in-game action as it unfolds. It’s not terribly different than attempts made with the NFL or garden-variety bloggers who live stream commentary, but its scale, consistency, and quality are meant to redefine the sphere.
Ballmer explained his vision to The Athletic:
“I have wanted to create a product like ClipperVision since the day I came to the Clippers. Years of effort, hard work and development have led up to its launch,” Ballmer said. “ClipperVision’s augmented reality and interactivity will let us transform the experience our fans have watching games, and provide them with more platforms to watch the Clippers.”
ClipperVision — which costs $199 per season — will have 70 out of 82 regular-season games with Saturday’s road game at the Sacramento Kings being the first. The service includes another feed called BallerVision, where NBA alums like Davis, Crawford and Pierce can weigh-in as the game unfolds.
The service stops short of combining official broadcasts and commentary, but Ballmer suggests that the two may come under the same roof at some point in the future.
Ballmer explains that right now, a team owning its own broadcast rights would not be the right move, which is why the launch of ClipperVision is a collaborative one with Bally Sports.
“Right now, that would shrink our audience, because we don’t have this established,” Ballmer said. “But could I see it? Yes. Is that the way it will happen? I don’t know.”
The article mentions that the Portland Trail Blazers were the last NBA team to broadcast their own games in-house, via pay-per-view, under the old Blazers Cable system. They ultimately went away from PPV, opting to sell their rights to broadcast networks.
Do you see value in a professional, team-run commentary stream? Do you think we’ll ever get back to a fully in-house broadcast delivery system now that streaming, not television, has become the viewing method of choice? If the Blazers were to take up this kind of project, who would be the best former players to comment on the action? Share your thoughts below.