The National Basketball Association and YouTube has announced a groundbreaking partnership making YouTube TV the first-ever presenting partner of the NBA Finals.

The multiyear partnership also includes YouTube TV as the presenting partner of The Finals for the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the NBA G League, the NBA’s official minor league.

Throughout the partnership, “The Finals presented by YouTube TV” logo will be featured prominently during all Finals games, including on the court and in-arena.  Additionally, YouTube TV will be featured in ABC commercial spots and in-game call outs, along with having a major presence across the NBA’s digital and social media assets.

The Finals 2018 presented by YouTube TV will be broadcast live on ABC beginning Thursday, May 31.  During The Finals, fans will have access to ABC and every game through YouTube TV, which is available in nearly 100 of the top markets, covering more than 85 percent of U.S. households.  The Finals have been broadcast live on ABC since 2003.

Dan Rossomondo, NBA Senior Vice President, Global Media and Business Development commented: “Our presenting partnership of The Finals marks another first in our longstanding and innovative history with YouTube. The NBA Finals on ABC, as well as the WNBA Finals and NBA G League Finals, are pinnacle events, and with YouTube TV we are excited to provide fans with new ways to experience the excitement of these championship series.”

Angela Courtin, Global Head of YouTube TV & Originals Marketing added: Partnering with the NBA is a slam dunk for YouTube TV members, with more basketball content and the first-ever presenting partner of the NBA Finals. YouTube TV was built for fans, and we are excited to bring to life our cable-free live TV service during one of the most watched sports events of the year.”

Earlier this month, the NBA expanded its relationship with YouTube with the addition of NBA TV, the league’s 24-hour network, for YouTube TV members base package at no additional cost.  In the coming months, NBA League Pass, the league’s premium out-of-market live game service, will be available for YouTube TV members for an extra fee.

Overall, the NBA and YouTube partnership goes back more than a decade, and includes a long history of firsts.  The NBA was the first official professional sports league to partner with YouTube and launch its own channel in 2005, and join their “Claim Your Content” program in 2007.  To date, the NBA channel has generated more than 4.6 billion views.

YouTube TV launched in April 2017 to provide audiences with a new, more flexible way to enjoy their favourite live TV and live sports programming outside of a traditional cable subscription.  The live TV streaming service currently features more than 50 networks.

Wendell Scott, Senior Vice President, Multimedia Sales, ESPN stated: “The NBA and ESPN have a history of creating innovative sponsorships, and this certainly qualifies. YouTube TV is a next generation partner for an ascendant league and we look forward to working with them to maximise the impact of their investment across ABC and the ESPN platform.”

SBC Americas analysis: As we have seen in the English Premier League, the relationship between sports clubs and betting operators can prove immensely prosperous for both parties, and with the NBA already showing an initiative for innovative partnerships, all the signs are there to suggest the door could be open in the long term future for positive partnerships between betting operators and NBA franchises.