Twitch has been the place to go to see gamers show off their latest moves in the NBA 2K basketball video game series. Now, the livestreaming service could be the place you watch your favorite NBA team’s next supporting cast.
Or your team’s future color commentator.
Today, Twitch announced that it will stream NBA G League games beginning December 15 at Twitch.tv/nbagleague. The G League is the NBA’s development league (hoop heads may recall it as the D League. It changed to G League this year). Each of NBA’s 30 teams have minor league affiliates (the Golden State Warriors have the Santa Cruz Warriors, the Boston Celtics’ minor league club is the Maine Red Claws, and so on). Twitch will livestream up to six of these G League games each week, and they’ll also be available on-demand. Twitch says this the first time a major sports league has partnered to show off its bush ranks on a livestreaming platform.
Watching NBA minor league games on your Twitch app, without having to deal with cable verification (a bane to cord-cutters), feels like a good deal. But what makes this more interesting is that will also have co-streaming with Twitch personalities (aka streamers) and fans. You’d get the commentary feed of the co-streamer while watching the game, along with the steamer’s chat. It’ll also have overlays for stats thanks to Twitch Extensions, which came to the platform in August.
“This partnership does represent something innovative on the convergence of sports and technology,” Twitch spokesperson Chase said over email.
This also fits into NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s vision for basketball’s broadcast future. At the recent Code Commerce event in New York, he talked about how, as Recode reported, sports should “look more like video games.”
To see stats, viewers click on a team’s name or log next to the scoreboard. You’ll see player, team, game, and season stats. It’ll also have a ticker with stats from other G League games. It’s pretty standard fare, but again, it’s the first time a livestreaming platform is doing this in sports. If you’re logged into Twitch, you get loyalty points, too, along with competitions to unlock achievements and climbing leaderboards with other viewers for prizes. Gamers are already used to getting rewards via Twitch, and this opens up the idea that we could see rewards for not just watching and interacting with the G League but maybe streams for fantasy football and other sports-related activities, too.
The G League is also the NBA’s laboratory for experimenting with rules changes and other format changes.