'World Feed Truck' allows NBA to be a globetrotter

Tue Feb 16, 2016 2:40pm EST
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By Frank Pingue

TORONTO (Reuters) - The NBA's desire to tap into cricket-mad India or soccer-obsessed Brazil and grow its global fan base will rely greatly on a chaotic mission control trailer known as the World Feed Truck.

While the NBA has many initiatives to help boost its already strong global appeal, broadcasts produced in the World Feed Truck and beamed out to the farthest corners of the earth could be its best weapon.

A nondescript white trailer, parked across the street from a Toronto arena on a bone-chilling night where the NBA played its first All-Star Game outside of the United States on Sunday, is where the event's signal was sent around the world.

Inside the dimly-lit trailer, producers work feverishly in front of a wall of TV screens and panels of lit-up buttons and levers to coordinate a broadcast for the NBA's international television partners.

The 40-foot (12 meters) windowless trailer is packed floor-to-ceiling with equipment that emits a constant humming noise and leaves little space for the 17 people inside to maneuver.

The signal is beamed to TVs, tablets and mobile devices and allowed the NBA to reach people in 215 countries and territories in 49 languages with the hopes of winning more fans.

The folks inside are keeping a special eye out for ways to enhance the broadcast for a global audience and are constantly seeking out replays featuring international players that fans from overseas are tuning in to see.

"We're never going to be the equal to cricket in India, it's like a religion in that market, and same for soccer in Brazil," Matt Brabants, NBA senior vice-president of global media distribution, told Reuters.   Continued...

General view of a logo on the court before the NBA All Star Saturday Night at Air Canada Centre. Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports