Turner Sports will launch a streaming over-the-top video service in April called B/R Live.
B/R Live, named for Turner’s Bleacher Report, will include live games from the NBA, UEFA, World Arm Wrestling, PGA Championship and National Lacrosse League, among others.
"When we acquired BR six years ago, we imagined a time when the brand could become a virtual network in its own right, and that time is now," said Turner President David Levy at a press event at Bleacher Report's New York office.
Turner also hopes it will serve as a hub for sports fans, directing them where they can watch any sporting event that is happening at that moment. If it is on a Turner network, users will be able to watch live in the app; if on a competitor, it will link to its app.
B/R Live will be free at launch. Later in the summer the company will roll out a paywall, letting users pay for individual games, or a subscription for broader access to games. It will launch on the web and on mobile at first, with apps on connected TV devices launching later in the summer.
Jon Diament, executive
VP of ad sales for Turner Sports, tells Digital News Daily that the company is just beginning to introduce the product to the market. Advertisers will be able to buy ad space on
Turner’s linear channels, and the same space on the in-app stream. In addition, sponsors will be able to buy out the whole app, sponsor the free preview stream of live events, or even sponsor
entire events, making them free to users.
"We know that these fans will be highly engaged, as they are paying for this content, whether a full game or a partial game," he says, adding that the company was also "looking to break into some nontraditional categories" such as e-commerce, where a fan could buy a jersey or other product directly through the app.
Turner also announced a deal with the NBA on Tuesday that allows users to buy access to portions of NBA games in progress.
Speaking at the event on Tuesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that users could, for example, pay 99 cents for five minutes of a game that started earlier. Silver said the league wanted to "take a page from the virtual world, with video games, of microtransactions."
"Let’s sell the fan what they want -- if they want five minutes of the game or 10 minutes of the game," Silver said.
This service will be advertising-supported, with both traditional ad breaks that one would expect during a live sporting event as well as sponsorships that are unique to the service.