CHICAGO – The National Basketball Association will give its digital offering the full court press, introducing complete live games on mobile phones, including Apple Inc's iPhone, for $40 a year.
Previously the NBA, whose season tipped off on Tuesday, offered only game highlights on mobile phones. The league already offers subscription packages to watch live games on PCs as well as an added package on cable and satellite TV.
NBA league attendance hit 21.5 million last year. Research firm IDC estimates there are potentially 59 million mobile phones in the U.S. that can carry the new package.
Major League Baseball began selling live games to iPhone users in June. The National Hockey League offers live games through mobile phones in Canada, but not the United States. The National Football League offers live games on mobile devices to some DirecTV customers.
The NBA package allows fans to watch more than 40 live games each week. It also offers digital video recording technology to pause and rewind 30 seconds of action and access to up to two days of archived games. Users also will be able to get game statistics while watching the action.
Like the TV and Internet packages, locally broadcast games will be blocked for users in their markets, as well as nationally televised games.
Carriers include AT&T Inc, exclusive U.S. provider for Apple Inc's iPhone, and T-Mobile USA, a Deutsche Telekom unit that sells phones based on Google Inc's Android. Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile service provider, will begin offering its first Android phone on Nov. 6.
By year end, the NBA product also will be available to users of Research in Motion's BlackBerry. The product works on high-speed cellular networks and Wi-Fi, a short-range network technology.