LiveLike has powered similar experiences during SkySports’ English Premier League telecasts and has an ongoing deal with FloSports, a multi-sport streaming network.
NBA fans will be able to access the functionality for games airing on TNT and NBATV and can invite others by sharing a unique link. The Twitch-like chat experience will be available on mobile devices and computers, with messages tied to users’ in-game time stamps in an effort to prevent the spoilers that can result from viewers watching games with differing amounts of delay.
“Bringing an interactive fan experience to the NBA Playoffs with Turner Sports is a key milestone for our company,” LiveLike CEO Miheer Walavalkar said. “One of our first investors was the late David Stern, and making sports viewing a more social experience was something we talked about often.”
Founded in 2015 and based in New York, LiveLike, whose other investors Evolution Media, Greycroft Partners, Courtside VC, Elysian Park and Dentsu Ventures, has directed its focus away from VR in recent years to build out its Watch Party product, which allows rights holders to add interactive and social elements to their own offerings. The company has seen a significant uptick in industry interest as leagues and broadcasters look for ways to engage fans who can no longer attend events due to COVID-19.
In the case of TNT games, the chat will sit alongside TNT Overtime feeds, which are bonus angles available via the NBA platforms.
The agreement will run for the length of the playoffs, which begin Monday following a largely successful seeding game period played in a bubble in Orlando. The league previously teamed with Microsoft to display over 300 fans per game on 17-foot video boards spanning sidelines and endlines. LiveLike’s functionality will give viewers a different shared experience option.