Eleven swoops in to ink NBA rights deal

Eleven's group managing director Danny Menken wants the network to attract new, younger audiences with the broadcast of NBA games.
Eleven's group managing director Danny Menken wants the network to attract new, younger audiences with the broadcast of NBA games.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Network will show NBA games for four years, subscription prices not expected to rise

Eleven Sports Network has added the National Basketball Association (NBA) to its growing list of world-class sport offerings following yesterday's announcement of a multi-year broadcast rights deal.

The four-year contract includes four live games a week and starts with the upcoming season that tips off next Wednesday (Singapore time).

Defending NBA champions Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, open the new season at home against the New York Knicks.

Local fans who are already subscribers of Eleven - whether through channels on Singtel, StarHub, M1 and Toggle or through the Eleven website or its mobile application - can watch the NBA games without additional charges.

New digital subscribers can opt for a monthly pass ($19.90 with a 12-month subscription, $24.90 with no fixed contract) or an annual contract ($214.90). It is understood that these prices will not be raised for the foreseeable future.

San Antonio Spurs fan Clement Chan, 22, welcomed the news that fans here would not miss out on live NBA games. He added: "Having it available on mobile devices also makes it very convenient for us to catch the games."

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KEEP THE BALL ROLLING

NBA has a very strong fan base in Singapore. We are constantly increasing the quality of our content portfolio with big brands.

DANNY MENKEN, Eleven Sports group managing director, on why the network has added the NBA to its list of sports offerings.

Besides regular season matches, Eleven will screen the All-Star game, NBA play-offs, as well as the Conference Finals and Finals.

The network already televises England's Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup competitions; the Italian Serie A football games; plus international swimming, squash, badminton and tennis events.

Eleven's group managing director Danny Menken told The Straits Times: "We have a lot of football content and now we want to try and target new audiences, like the younger people.

"NBA has a very strong fan base in Singapore. We are constantly increasing the quality of our content portfolio with big brands."

StarHub had partnered the NBA since 2010 but could not reach an agreement for a renewal of the deal which ended this month. It had previously screened the 24-hour basketball channel NBA TV on its pay-TV service. That follows a recent trend of local broadcasters wrangling over escalating rights fees. In August, Singapore secured live coverage of the Olympics' sporting action only a day before the opening ceremony, with the high costs leading to an impasse at first.

While Eleven's broadcast of NBA content will not be round-the-clock, it will include repeat prime-time telecasts and NBA highlights programmes, including NBA Action and daily highlights.

NBA Asia's managing director Scott Levy said: "Singapore is an important market for us and we've conducted numerous events here... We look forward to bringing even more NBA experiences to our Singaporean fans."

Founded last year, Eleven has quickly muscled its way into the sports media rights scene in Singapore. It secured the exclusive rights to broadcast all 51 games of the Euro 2016 football tournament in June and July and has inked a multi-year agreement with Fina - swimming's world governing body - to telecast eight events from the sport's World Cup 2016 to local fans. The Singapore leg is on Friday and Saturday at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2016, with the headline 'Eleven swoops in to ink NBA rights deal'. Print Edition | Subscribe