Bunny ears are universal.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson is just out of view of the camera, save for his arm and he’s got two fingers poking just above the head of T.J. Manotoc, a basketball commentator for ABS-CBN, the network carrying this weekend’s NBA all-star weekend activities in the Philippines.
Clarkson is of Filipino and American descent, and is a major get for Manotoc and his crew at Friday night’s Rising Stars game. The reporters and athlete are ecording the interview courtside, while we are watching in the NBA’s world feed truck, which is where the signal is being sent around the world.
Much has been made about how Toronto is the first international location for the NBA’s annual party, but here inside this multimillion dollar truck filled with technology that beams the footage around the world, it’s clear that while Toronto is the momentary centre of the basketball world, the league has world domination as a goal and wants to give all of its fans a chance to see the best the NBA has to offer.
By the numbers
• 215: Countries the NBA all-star weekend events will be broadcast in.
• 49: Languages used in covering the weekend.
• 17: Broadcast and radio crews in town who will do live commentary.
• 13: First time countries to broadcast the game remotely for the first time, including Azerbaijan, Belgium, Dominican Republic, Latvia (the Kristaps Porzingis effect), Mongolia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uruguay.
• 336: Accredited international journalists from 40 countries.
How it works
Most of the footage and features starts with TNT, the official NBA all-star rights holders for the U.S., but then it is customized for different markets and often additional elements are provided, like the arena halftime entertainment and atmosphere, which likely won’t make the domestic feed due to commercials.
While there are many crews calling the game from Toronto, the vast majority will be doing “off tube” commentary in their home studios, calling the game from watching the television feed. And many countries will take the feed and edit it for later broadcast or other basketball-related programming.
The influence of social media
The world feed truck also prepares highlights for social media, providing another way for fans to interact with the league.
“People that may not have access to the live game because it’s 2 o’clock in the morning in some countries, they can still interact the next morning through highlights and other social media,” said Matt Brabants, senior vice-president of global media distribution for the NBA.
The NBA announced Friday that it is a the first sports league to achieve more than 1 billion social media likes and followers, although that is a combined number of all league, team and player accounts combined across social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and Tencent and Sina in China.
The view from Brazil
Just as Canadians are happy to see themselves on the world stage, other journalists know their sports grow with membership in the NBA fraternity. Thales Soares Raymundo is a reporter with SportTV and was busy watching his countryman Raul Neto in the Rising Stars game. He also says that many Brazilians are watching the Raptors, who have Lucas Nogueira and Bruno Caboclo in the organization.
“Brazilian have a long story for basketball. They need something to be interested about, so the Brazilians in the NBA, give them something to care about,” says Raymundo. “Lucas has always been a natural talent. He’s bigger and he can dunk. Brazilians like the dunks, and the Brazilian national team think he’s a great player and will give a lot to the team. But now he and Bruno are developing and they think Toronto is a good place for them to be.”