Communications company Viasat has struck a multi-year deal with the National Basketball Association to deliver live NBA games to JetBlue passengers on the airline’s international flights, according to a Thursday (May 20) press release. The service will not be available on domestic U.S. flights or routes within China or Canada.
Viasat said it delivers in-flight entertainment to many of the world’s major airlines. The Carlsbad, California-based company said that other airlines will roll out the NBA service as well.
The way it works is that passengers will gain access to the NBA League Pass, the league’s premium live game subscription service. Passengers can watch live and on-demand NBA games and content on their personal electronic devices — at no extra cost. They do need to register for NBA League Pass in-flight.
The service will be available in time for the 2021 NBA Playoffs on planes that are set up with Viasat’s equipment, the company said. Passengers can watch on their personal electronic devices.
“This partnership will transform the future of content consumption for airline passengers and allow us to engage millions of new and existing NBA fans in a whole new way,” said Matt Brabants, NBA senior vice president, global media distribution. NBA fans will be able to “drop by” on live events even while flying around at 35,000 feet.
“We’re focused on evolving the way passengers enjoy in-flight internet,” said Dave Elliot, Viasat managing director, media and mobile applications. He said that such partnerships offer “more opportunity to drive customer acquisition.”
After the pandemic caused a collapse in the travel industry, airlines may be looking for ways to boost their sales. As well, there’s good news on the horizon. Airlines are seeing increased bookings. For example, last month both Southwest and American Airlines joined the growing chorus of industry players reporting leisure bookings on the rise and plans to ramp up flights ahead of the key summer travel season.