Verizon adds NBA streaming services to +play subscription aggregation

Verizon’s +play subscription aggregation and management platform has added NBA streaming services to its growing roster of partners.

On Tuesday the carrier announced that NBA League Pass, a premium direct-to-consumer service for live games, and NBA TV, a service offering 24/7 NBA content are now available through +play. Users can access and manage both subscriptions on the platform, as well as get exclusive offers.

NBA League Pass features live, out-of-market regular season games, alongside viewing features such new camera angles, alternative audio, celebrity commentary, analytics and condensed on-demand games. NBA TV, meanwhile, provides exclusive live NBA games as well as original programming and on-demand content.

Plans for Verizon’s free +play platform were first disclosed in March. It’s a tool positioned as a one-stop-shop to help Verizon subscribers more easily handle a variety of subscription services across devices, while also offering deals. Through the platform users can purchase, manage, and discover their variety of services across entertainment, audio, gaming, fitness, music and lifestyle, among others.

“NBA streaming services are an exciting addition to +play, allowing users to easily manage – and save – on their subscriptions and enjoy the best sports has to offer all in one place,” said Erin McPherson, chief content officer for Verizon, in a statement. “Verizon has a track record of providing our customers incredible value, as well as great premium content from leading services. As one of the largest direct-to-consumer distributors in the country, we’re solving for millions of customers’ pain points by providing them with an innovative tool to manage and get exclusive deals on multiple subscriptions all in one place.”

The addition of NBA streaming services marks the latest for pro sports teams. In late September Verizon added the NFL’s direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service NFL+. That came shortly after Verizon started offering a $30 discount for an annual NFL+ Premium subscription. The carrier already has a 10-year technology deal with the NFL, that includes serving as the league’s official 5G network provider.

The NBA itself this week announced a new regional direct-to-consumer streaming service for the Los Angeles Clippers. Priced at around $200 per season, the ClipperVision service features more than 70 live in-market games for the NBA team this season.

As for Verizon, the carrier has had relationships with content providers before – adding services such as Disney+ to sweeten its wireless and home internet plans. The +play platform builds on offers Verizon already has with existing streamers such as Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, discovery+ and AMC+ (which are all available on the platform).  Along with NBA services and NFL+, new partners on the platform include HBO Max, Netflix, and TelevisaUnivision’s Vix+, among others.

After +play was first announced, Recon Analytics principal analyst Roger Entner noted that Verizon can help address multiple pain points, including managing the billing side of the relationship, and also potentially help reduce churn for streaming providers.

“While as we mentioned the average wireless customer has 3.6 existing streaming subscriptions, this is a damper for rapid adoption but an upside considering the noticeable churn on streaming platforms. If Verizon can take advantage of capturing the high churn and convert them to low churn customers on +Play then Verizon has more than earned its piece of the pie,” wrote Entner.

He pointed out that streaming providers don’t want customers to quickly cancel service after watching a one-hit series, and Verizon can reach subscribers, who may not be paying attention to emails from streamers, on a different communication channel.

“Verizon can help streaming providers by providing the ability to contact customers on their mobile device when they don’t open emails anymore. It is common knowledge and intuitively true that a decrease in usage is a predictor of churn,” Entner commented in March.