Facebook and NBA Digital to team for simulcast of Cavs practice on Thursday

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Wikimedia Commons / Keith Allison

This coming Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT, NBA Digital and Facebook will roll out the social network’s “first-ever live simulcast of a live sports program.” The simulcast will be staged at a Cleveland Cavaliers practice during an episode of NBA TV’s NBA Real Training Camp, a series that takes an inside look at preseason preparations going on around the league.

USA Today reports that Vince Cellini will host the show and will be joined by former Cavs coach and current NBA TV analyst Mike Fratello. The broadcast will air portions of the practice while its hosts interview Cavs players and personnel.

Unless LeBron sprains an ankle or challenges himself to an impromptu dunk contest, the practice itself doesn’t promise be all that thrilling, but the broadcast is newsworthy in that it represents untreaded territory for Facebook.

The social platform continues to be popular with athletes and fans alike, and it could definitely provide another way for the league to reach viewers. After all, LeBron James alone has more than 33 million Facebook fans and videos shared on the network during the 2015 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors reportedly yielded 98 million views.

Those kinds of numbers are hard (and probably foolish) to ignore.

While you may have been surprised to hear about the NBA teaming up with Facebook, there’s a significant behind-the-scenes connection between the social media and sports behemoths. Dan Reed, Facebook’s head of global sports partnerships, served as president of the NBA’s Development League before coming to work for his current employer. In fact, this is probably just the sort of thing he was hired to do.

“Like” it or not, you’ll probably see this sort of thing more and more in the future. In a fragmented media market trying to find eyeballs wherever it can, every view counts.

The Cleveland Cavaliers open their season Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 8 p.m., when they square off against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.