The NBA reportedly wants $75 billion for its next U.S. media rights contracts. But to achieve that ambitious goal, the league needs interested bidders willing to do whatever it takes to outspend each other.
While that bidding process won’t begin until after this season and any new deals won’t begin until 2025, the NBA just concluded a process for overseas rights including two key media power players.
TNT Sports, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Discovery formerly known as BT Sport, just inked a multiyear deal to takeover the NBA’s U.K. media rights from Sky Sports, a subsidiary of Comcast.
WBD is one of the league’s two current American broadcast partners via TNT’s NBA package, along with Disney, which airs games on ESPN and ABC. WBD wants to retain its NBA rights but will face stiff competition from the likes of Comcast-owned NBC — which may be a significant bidder for the NBA’s next package of rights.
Other interested media companies could include Amazon, which has deep enough pockets to persuade the NBA to put a major package of games on streaming.
While financial figures for the NBA’s U.K. media rights are unavailable, they most certainly pale in comparison to what the league’s next domestic deals will garner. However, the battle involving two American media giants provides a peak at what will be at stake next year when the league can begin negotiating new deals.
An aggressive move by WBD to grab U.K. rights could show the NBA it is serious about retaining its U.S. contract, while Comcast’s willingness to surrender those foreign rights could cancel out a U.S. pact for NBC.