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Viasat Signs IFC Content Partnership with the NBA 

By Rachel Jewett | May 20, 2021

Viasat is partnering with the NBA to offer In-Flight Connectivity content. Photo: Freepik/master1305; Viasat

Viasat has signed a multi-year In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) content partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) to make its live game subscription service NBA League Pass available to airline passengers. The initial agreement includes Viasat-equipped planes from JetBlue Airways and American Airlines, according to a Viasat representative, with more airlines to come.  

Under this partnership, passengers can watch live and on-demand NBA games and content on their personal electronic devices at no extra cost when they register for NBA League Pass in-flight. The service will begin for the 2021 NBA Playoffs, which start May 22. 

One limitation is that the service is only available on international flights — the agreement doesn’t include domestic flights within the U.S., Canada, or China.

Viasat said this partnership is an example of how it is offering premium Over-the-Top (OTT) content and streaming experiences for in-flight customers. 

Viasat Managing Director of Media & Mobile Applications Dave Elliot commented: “The trend to market content — and in this case, league assets — directly to customers is powerful, and offers more opportunity to drive customer acquisition through new business models that haven’t been previously offered through packaged, linear TV viewing.”

Content partnerships like this one are one way that airlines and satellite companies are working to monetize IFC service. JetBlue has also had a similar partnership with Amazon which incentivized passengers to shop Amazon in-flight.