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Monday, February 26, 2024

Is Amazon Building an NBA Portfolio to Support U.S. Rights Bid?

  • Amazon will likely bid for a package of the NBA’s next media rights deals.
  • Prime Video now has NBA rights in Mexico and Brazil.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is less than four months away from opening up negotiations for its next set of U.S. media rights deals to companies beyond current broadcast partners ESPN and TNT. Those deals, which expire after the 2024-25 season, are worth $24 billion in total—and the NBA will no doubt be looking for a huge increase.

Amazon’s interest in acquiring NBA rights is no secret. Sources previously told Front Office Sports the company was exploring a deal for a package of games on Tuesday or Thursday nights. One of Prime Video’s top executives even went on record about the desire to buy playoff games as part of a potential streaming package. 

The NBA has never sold an exclusive streaming package for its U.S. rights. But in recent years, Amazon has compiled an intriguing set of international and supplemental NBA rights for Prime Video:

  • New multiyear deal for exclusive broadcasts in Mexico
  • Exclusive game broadcasts in Brazil (signed in 2022)
  • NBA League Pass available for purchase through Prime Video (since 2018)
  • Local streaming rights for 15 NBA teams through pending Diamond Sports Group deal

If and when Amazon makes a formal pitch to the NBA for an exclusive package of game broadcasts in the U.S., it will have plenty of evidence to point to in making the case for Prime Video. Of course, how much Amazon is willing to pay will be a key factor, too. Meanwhile, other interested bidders beyond Amazon, ESPN, and TNT could include NBC and streamers like Apple and Netflix.

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