Is the NBA Deal with iTunes the First Move in a New Direction for Sports Marketing?

On Monday, Paid Content reported that the NBA struck a deal with iTunes to provide next-day highlight packages to subscribers paying fees between $1.99 and $8.99, depending on the packages selected. I think this is a brilliant move to keep fans in touch with games that they may have missed, and I hope that other leagues will quickly develop similar offerings.

When I first read about this my immediate reaction was, why isn't the NHL doing this? This is a league that is trying to connect with a larger fanbase, but has many extremely loyal fans who have a voracious appetite for game coverage and highlights. Why didn't they think of and implement something like the NBA's Follow Your Team highlight package option? Why don't they strike a deal with the CBC so Americans can see Coach's Corner and Satellite Hotstove?

Everybody who reads Operation Gadget knows how much I love professional cycling. OLN can't afford to produce daily coverage of the Giro d'Italia because the audience is too small. They're streaming live coverage of the Monday through Saturday stages over the Internet for a one-time subscription charge of $19.99. I bet they would realize more revenue from a deal with iTunes showing daily stage highlights.

Regarding more mainstream sports, Major League Baseball has the smarts and the infrastructure to take advantage of a deal like this today. The NFL should do make a deal like this at least to promote their NFL Network that will begin game broadcasts in November.

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