Thursday September 21, 2023
The Best Employers in Sports Survey is Now Open!

TNT Signs ‘Inside the NBA’ Cast To Long-Term Contract Extensions

  • Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, Ernie Johnson extend their deals.
  • TNT and ESPN are courting the NBA in advance of media rights negotiations.
Credit: TNT
Front Office Sports Today

Could Promotion-Relegation work in College Football?

The proposal aims to create an exciting media product while reducing travel for non-football sports.
Listen Now
September 21, 2023 | Podcast
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

Let the NBA’s billion-dollar media rights negotiations begin.

Warner Bros. Discovery announced long-term contract extensions with the cast of TNT’s “Inside the NBA” on Monday: Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, and Ernie Johnson.

The NBA’s U.S. media rights with incumbents TNT and ESPN expire after the 2024-205 season. 

The contact extensions for the cast (which sources said run for 10 years) signal that the cost-cutting new management at Warners Bros. Discovery are willing to do what it takes to re-up with the NBA — and fend off deep-pocketed bidders Amazon and Apple

Would The NBA Embrace Streaming for $100B?

The next wave of media rights will be incredibly lucrative.
October 15, 2022

The long-running “Inside the NBA” has won 17 Emmys and is widely recognized as the best studio show in sports TV. The announcement came just one day before tipoff of the NBA’s 2022-23 season with a TNT doubleheader.

“Our partnership with the NBA is very important to us and this long-term agreement with the ‘Inside the NBA’ team is recognition of their significance to that relationship,” said Luis Silberwasser, chairman and chief executive officer of Warner Bros. Discovery Sports. “‘Inside the NBA’ epitomizes the creativity and innovative spirit we’ve established throughout our successful, long-standing partnership with the league.”

Added Barkley: “We’re all a big family — Ernie, Kenny, and Shaquille are brothers to me — and I wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for them and all the amazing people who work on our show. I’m not gonna lie, though, this is a life-altering deal…and I’m blessed to be able to do live television for a living.”

With the NFL invading the NBA’s long-time programming showcase on Christmas with its own tripleheader, Disney’s ESPN is also courting the NBA in advance of media rights negotiations. 

For the first time, ESPN will simulcast all five of its NBA Christmas Day games both on its own network and sister broadcast network ABC. That should generate some additional viewership since ESPN’s distribution has dropped to 76 million homes vs. over 100 million for free, over-the-air broadcast networks like ABC, CBS and NBC.

The NBA will be seeking upwards of $75 billion for its next long-term media rights package. TNT and ESPN are currently paying a combined $24 billion over nine years, or $2.6 billion annually.

Amazon Prime Video fired a shot across the bows of incumbent ESPN and TNT on Monday by announcing a deal to exclusively stream up to 87 live games in Brazil this season, including up to 24 playoff games. 

The e-commerce giant took over as the exclusive partner of the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” package this season. Now it wants the NBA next.

Sources say Amazon believes its strong early performance with TNF makes it an appealing potential rights partner for the NBA in the U.S.

“We are incredibly excited to expand our relationship with the NBA and give Brazilian basketball fans access to live NBA games and other exciting NBA content,” said Marie Donoghue, Amazon’s global sports video vice president about the Brazil deal. “This NBA content will bolster our already substantial global slate of sports content available on Prime Video.”

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

TKO Makes First Big Move After WWE-UFC Merger

Investors drop TKO shares by 15% following SmackDown rights deal
Deion Sanders and The Rock

Deion Sanders Reshaping College Football Fanbase With Buffaloes Surge

Deion Sanders has made Colorado "Black America's Team."
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is tripped up by New York Jets defensive end Solomon Thomas in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium.

NFL Viewership Sees 2% Increase in First Two Weeks of 2023 Season

The NFL is experiencing its highest viewership since 2018.

How Daktronics Helps Elite Athletic Programs Secure Top Talent

How colleges are utilizing Daktronics' displays to elevate recruiting.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Could Promotion-Relegation work in College Football?


Featured Today

Rupert Murdoch's Exit Leaves Lasting Fox Sports Legacy

Rupert Murdoch steps down as chairman of Fox Corp. and News Corp.
Could ESPN lose events such as the NBA Finals if it sold ABC.
September 21, 2023

Selling ABC Poses Billion-Dollar Dilemma for Disney and ESPN's Future

Losing ABC would create complications as ESPN enters NBA rights negotiations.
Boise State Broncos running back Ashton Jeanty (2) runs the ball against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks during the first half at Albertsons Stadium.
September 20, 2023

The First Official Proposal for Promotion-Relegation In College Football

Realignment is forcing Group of 5 schools to rethink their structure.
A general view of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium Stadium.
September 20, 2023

Political Support Grows for RFK Stadium Bill

The Commanders exited RFK after the 1996 NFL season for FedEx Field.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Chicago Cubs
New York
Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group, Inc.
USA - Multiple Locations
NBC will reportedly pay $287 million annually across five years to air broadcast on USA Network.

NBC Inks WWE SmackDown Rights for Reported $1.4 Billion

The reported rights fee is about 40% higher than SmackDown's Fox deal.
September 20, 2023

Can Amazon Keep Up NFL Viewership Boost After Record Week 1?

The San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants face off on Thursday night.
September 19, 2023

WBD Pursues ‘Different’ Strategy For Sports on Max

Company to place all of its live sports on new streaming tier
Deion Sanders
September 19, 2023

Colorado's Epic Victory Sets New ESPN Prime Time Viewership Record

Coach Prime Deion Sanders delivered in prime time on ESPN.
Joe Buck and Troy Aikman
September 18, 2023

'Monday Night Football' Returns To ABC Amid Entertainment Breakdown

ABC will simulcast 15 regular season "Monday Night Football" games.
September 15, 2023

DSG Looks To Use NHL Kings Deal As Reorganization Model

Agreement arrives as bankrupt RSN operator nears deadline for reorganization plan
September 14, 2023

Netflix Fatigue May Be Hitting Sports Docuseries

Netflix cameras won't have full access at the Ryder Cup.
September 14, 2023

NBA Cracks Down On Player Rest Ahead of Multi-Billion Dollar Rights Talks

NBA rest days will be regulated as league prepares for rights talks.