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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

NBA Media Rights Likely Headed for Open Market Next Week

  • Apple, Amazon and Netflix are just a few of the streamers who have expressed interest in getting part of the NBA’s media rights deal.
  • League could negotiate with WNBA, or see them seek their own path.
Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is expected to let the exclusivity window with media partners Disney and Warner Brothers Discovery close Monday “without a new deal” as the league seeks a new one, according to CNBC

The move makes sense as the league hopes to increase the $24 billion from its last media deal in an open-market bidding war.  The league will have no shortage of interest. Apple, NBC, YouTube TV, Amazon and Netflix are just some of the companies that are reportedly interested in getting in on the league’s new media rights deal, which would start for the 2025-26 season. NBC previously had the NBA’s rights from 1990 to 2002. 

The league could be seeking a whopping $50 to $75 billion in this deal, Front Office Sports reported in late 2022.

While negotiations with Disney, which owns ESPN, and Warner Brothers Discovery, owner of Turner Broadcasting, will continue, the league is looking to add at least one new partner to serve as the league’s primary streamer, according to CNBC. 

The WNBA is also looking for a new media rights deal and hopes to double its own revenues of $60 million in its next package. That deal expires in October 2025. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said it makes sense for both leagues to go to the table together, but Front Office Sports has previously reported that the WNBA could break off and get its own deal. Speaking to reporters on Monday at the draft, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert didn’t dismiss the idea to negotiate alone. 

“Where it makes sense to go together, we will,” Engelbert says. “Where it makes sense not to, we’ll evaluate that and work with Adam and his team on that.”

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