Twitch sign interactive content deal with FIBA

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has signed a multi-year deal to show content from the sport on interactive streaming service Twitch, the organisations told Reuters on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: A twitch sign-in screen is seen at the offices of Twitch Interactive Inc, a social video platform and gaming community owned by Amazon, in San Francisco, California, U.S., March 6, 2017. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage/File Photo

Twitch is best known as a platform for e-sports and has become increasingly popular with musicians and sports teams but FIBA is the first international governing body to join the service.

Under the deal, FIBA will broadcast around 600 hours of live basketball games each year but will also give fans and influencers access to official footage to create their own content.

Twitch streams often feature ‘alternative commentary’ on content and can also feature repackaged content in the form of talk-shows or other formats.

The terms of the deal have not been made public but the money FIBA is receiving will be primarily used to invest in the content production process on the platform, Frank Leenders, Director General of FIBA Media and Marketing Services told Reuters.

“It is not a platform like YouTube where you just stream your games and people consume. You have to use the specificity of Twitch which means you have to invest in interactivity and co-streamers who are very important influencers on the platform,” he said.

“It is a partnership where we use the resources predominantly to adapt our content, build up the community and be successful over the next two years,” he added.

Twitch is seen a route to reach a younger audience who are more interested in interactive content and who traditional broadcasters may find difficult to reach.

“We believe that it is something we should embrace... to be successful with a demographic that the sports world is struggling to capture,” said Leenders.

The service is a subsidiary of Amazon and in the United Kingdom, Amazon Prime has broadcast some of its Premier League soccer matches on the platform.

Charlie Beall, Twitch EMEA Sports Lead, said the deal fit in with the service’s move to a more broader range of content.

“Whilst Twitch is known for its heritage in gaming, we have seen this organic growth outside of gaming in the last few years, particularly in music and sport,” he said.

“Non-gaming content has quadrupled over the last three years. Twitch is a community which meets around passion points and clearly that has tie-ins with particular sports.

“We identified basketball as a global sport with passionate communities in territories around the world and we want to try to do something different around the live interactive element that marks Twitch’s service out,” he added.

The live games, which will be streamed both on FIBA’s Twitch channel and on the channels of its creators’ network, will include all FIBA 3x3 competitions, the EuroLeague Women and selected youth tournaments.

Additionally, highlights and delayed coverage of FIBA’s national team and other club competitions and youth tournaments will be packaged and distributed specifically for Twitch creators.

Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Christian Radnedge