Nearly a decade after acquiring the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, Steve Ballmer has finally succeeded in building a direct-to-consumer TV platform.
What's the deal?
The Clippers this week launched ClipperVision, a regional subscription streaming service that offers six channel options for watching the vast majority of the team’s home and away games – more than 70 out of 84 regular season games. The service will cost $199 per season and is available largely in Southern California.
One of the six channel feeds will be dedicated to the team’s traditional linear cable TV coverage via Bally Sports’ Bally Sports+ service. Another feed is an alternative view of the game—akin to ESPN’s new spin on “Monday Night Football” with Peyton and Eli Manning—dubbed “Ballervision,” that will feature NBA alums Jamal Crawford, Baron Davis, and others chopping it up live as the game unfolds. Ballmer, well known for his over-the-top courtside displays of his love for the Clippers and basketball in general, will also join them periodically to weigh in.
The bottom line:
Ballmer emphasized that he has wanted to craft a multi-platform presentation for NBA games since he was still in his days serving as the No. 2 to Bill Gates at Microsoft in the 1990s and 2000s. He sees the slicing and dicing of Clippers content as a form of “gamifying” the viewing experience. He also sees it as crucial to making Clippers games available to a younger generation of fans who don’t subscribe to cable.