NBA shoots for 10X bandwidth, total redundancy in new fiber play


Verizon’s throwing a full-court pass to try and score with the NBA, putting together a high-speed fiber network that connects all twenty-nine arenas that host NBA teams. (Yes, 29 arenas for 30 teams… LA’s Clippers and Lakers both play at the Staples Center.) In the process, it allows the NBA to add up to 30 cameras in every venue, guaranteeing viewers won’t get bored.

The network will be specifically used – at the moment – to enable the league to offer 1080p resolution on all broadcasts and support those new cameras being installed in NBA arenas. The double ring of 100G fiber circuits bumps the network bandwidth by 10X, and offers the league full redundancy.

The fiber network will be managed using Verizon’s Wavelength Services, and each arena will be connected to network hubs in Newark, NJ and Atlanta, Ga. A dedicated virtual network operation center (vNOC) in Dulles, Va. will be operated by Verizon Media during game time to monitor real-time video traffic quality and data across the network.

The new video distribution network and fiber connectivity will be live starting in the second half of 2020.

The bottom line

The NBA has gone all in on technology to try and appeal to younger fans, especially. It’s got camera’s on fan-selected players in the second half, has broadcast games in virtual reality, had a deal with AT&T to broadcast 13 games in 4K, HDR and virtual reality and is seriously committed to giving fans the biggest experience they can, on TV, online and very much so on its social outlets.

And it’s not just to a US audience. – the NBA is China’s most popular sports league online, and this year saw video views during the playoffs top 2.9 billion. This is just its next step in being able to deliver the game the way its fans really want to see it.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn