Major league sports, like most other forms of entertainment, is struggling find ways to engage more directly with young fans. There's a growing consensus that the future lies in developing ways for viewers to help shape the way they interact with games and other fans.
That seems to be the driving reason for the NBA'a latest move, which will bring some games from its "G League" to the interactive gaming and social platform Twitch.
Beginning on Friday, up to six games a week from the league will be available on Twitch and while the games are also available on Facebook and other social media platforms, the Twitch platform will offer a lot of new options for fans.
Twitch lets people watch and comment while others play video games and that's also the approach being taken for the "G League" games. Viewers will be able to comment live as they watch and interact with other viewers. They will also be able call up interactive graphics they can overlay on the game while they watch. The graphics will include things such as player stats and team data. Twitch has also given about a dozen of its most popular commentators the ability to create their own play-by-play versions of the game.
It's not clear just how all of this will work, since all that is available right now is the the info and graphic provided by Twitch. And some of the details are still a bit vague, including just how a new "loyalty viewing points" feature will work.
Still, it's a smart idea and one that is pretty cheap for both Twitch and the NBA to implement. Now when are the broadcast networks going to get a toehold into the Twitch universe? As I have written many times, streaming pilots or other special programming on Twitch would seem like a natural way to interact with younger television fans.