Buzzer renews NBA and WNBA offerings to bring games out of the market to mobile

Buzzer, a mobile platform for live sports aimed at youth, has renewed its deals with the NBA and WNBA to allow fans to watch out-of-market games via their League Pass streaming services.

The deals are for several years, though Buzzer hasn’t disclosed the number of years or any financial details. Buzzer pays a rights fee, and the company and the leagues will share in the revenue generated when people pay for access to games through Buzzer. The agreements are for the regular season only and do not include the playoffs.

Buzzer, founded in 2020, previously had a deal with the NBA for the final six weeks of the 2020-21 season and the entire 2021-22 season and with the WNBA for The last three and a half weeks of the 2021 season and the entire 2022 season.

By downloading iOs or Android apps from Buzzer, fans can get alerts on their mobile phones when games are being played and when there are close scores or other events that may be of interest. They can then pay as little as 99 cents to watch the fourth quarter and overtime for games and up to $5.99 for a full game. They can also purchase full access to the NBA League Pass, which costs $99.99 for the entire season without commercials, and the WNBA League Pass, which cost $24.99 for the 2022 season that ended last month.

As of now, Buzzer only offers in-app purchases for off-market NBA and WNBA games. Buzzer founder and CEO Bo Han, a former Twitter executive, said the company hopes to announce agreements with other leagues in the coming months, although nothing has been finalized.

“Buzzer has proven successful in reaching next-generation fans, and the renewed partnership with both the NBA and WNBA is testament to Buzzer’s unique approach to attracting a growing audience that is out of step with traditional television,” said Steve Pagliuca, Boston Celtics co-owner and Buzzer investor. , in a statement. “For a two-year-old startup, this is an amazing confirmation and I look forward to seeing how Buzzer will continue to innovate and roll out features that bring mobile basketball fans back into the direct window.”

In June, Sportico mentioned Buzzer recently laid off 20% of its employees and it was seek To raise at least $20 million in funding. The company, which now has 42 full-time employees according to Hahn, raised an initial $4 million round in March 2020 and a $20 million Series A round in March 2021, led by Sapphire Sport and Canaan Partners.

Michael Jordan, the former NBA star who is now majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets, he is An investor in Buzzer. Several athletes have invested in Buzzer, too, including Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu, tennis player Naomi Osaka, and hockey stars Auston Matthews and Conor McDavid.

Hahn said Buzzer plans to complete another funding round sometime next year, but did not say how much money the company is looking to raise. He admitted that it has become difficult for startups to raise money this year.

“The market dynamics have changed quite a bit as everyone has seen and experienced it,” Han said. “The macro has definitely changed. What’s important to us is that our mission hasn’t changed, our vision for the product hasn’t changed, and the audience we want to cater to hasn’t changed.”

“This just requires us to be more disciplined, focused and implement the vision we all believe in,” he added.

Before founding Buzzer, Hahn was Twitter’s Live Content Manager, negotiating deals with professional sports leagues to broadcast their games on the platform. Han, who has an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and an MBA from Columbia, said he fired Buzzer because he noticed young sports fans don’t watch as many full games as older fans, but were more interested in short video like highlights.

“This is becoming a very problematic trend because live programming and live sports are the beating heart of this entire industry and this entire business,” Han said. “You need the next generation to consume some of it.”

In addition, young fans are usually glued to their cell phones looking for social media and internet, so Buzzer was created as a mobile platform that these fans can easily access. For example, if the 76ers and Lakers tie in the fourth quarter, fans of those teams who aren’t watching on TV may still be willing to pay to get into the game via Buzzer.

“The goal here is how to become a bridge to the next generation and how to deal with an audience that is not addressed by television,” Han said. “You have an entire generation, specifically Generation Z, which is a very mobile first generation. The mobile phone is the first device they grew up on compared to (older people) who grew up with TV first. In many ways, it’s optimized for a device that the next generation interacts with and uses.”

Besides NBA and WNBA deals, Buzzer also has partnerships with DAZN and FanDuel. The DAZN deal, announced in February, was Buzzer’s first with a streaming platform. Buzzer includes distributing live moments from DAZN boxing matches with the goal of people watching clips and subscribing to DAZN.

Through the FanDuel partnership, fans who bet on NBA or WNBA games through FanDuel are alerted to watch them via Buzzer. For example, if someone bet money on a 3-point difference and the game is four points away in the fourth quarter, they might be interested in watching the rest of the game via Buzzer. FanDuel odds are integrated into the Buzzer app, and Buzzer ads appear in the FanDuel app.

“We view our partnership with FanDuel as a user engagement tool for NBA and WNBA games,” Han said. “As we expand our live sports portfolio, our partnership with FanDuel will deepen, but for now, it’s how we communicate moments to fans at NBA and WNBA games.”

He added, “We are not a betting company, but we want to be the destination to watch your bets live. It’s more about understanding the activity outside of Buzzer so we can create custom discovery mechanisms for you… It’s about understanding the customer what they are interested in and how we can generate real-time notifications The appropriate format is curated and customized for individual sports fans.”

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