Basketball: National Basketball League breaks new ground with live coverage on TikTok social media platform

New Zealand's National Basketball League has broken new ground in game coverage, streaming its 2024 season-opener on the TikTok social media platform.

Reigning champions Canterbury Rams defeated Nelson Giants 79-69 in the season-opener at Cowles Stadium, with audience watching from their phones, as the sport explores new ways of tapping into its young demographic.

"We were kind of scared," NBL marketing manager and four-time NBL champion Casey Frank told AM. "We hadn't done streaming direct to TikTok and there were a lot of hurdles to work out. first and foremost that it started on time, and right when it was supposed to.

Casey Frank and Canterbury Rams v Nelson Giants.
Casey Frank and Canterbury Rams v Nelson Giants. Photo credit: AM Show/Photosport

"Feedback was it was great. It looked good, I watch it on TikTok myself and was really excited to get that first one out of the way without any hiccups."

Sixteen Wednesday night games will be streamed on the Sky Sport TikTok channel, giving social media users a taste of what they can expect from live games and pay-TV coverage throughout the season.

"There's no doubt basketball has a young audience in New Zealand and Sky is trying to help us foster these relationships with these young fans, who are probably fans of basketball in general, but maybe not so much the NBL," said Frank.

"We want to show them that the game here in New Zealand is a popular game that they can watch and we want to bring that game to the places they're watching. Right now, that's on devises and platforms like TikTok.

"It's not the way I prefer to watch basketball - I still like the big screen - but it's pretty addictive. There's a lot of interaction as it's going on and it was a pretty seamless experience for me."

Tall Blacks point guard Taylor Britt led Canterbury with 20 points, including their only two three-pointers, while Aussie forward Lachlan Olbrich compiled a 15 points/10 rebounds double double. 

Watch the video for the full interview.