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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Next-Gen NBA TV Deals Could Benefit Streamers, Stars

  • The NBA's media rights deals with ESPN and TNT are up after the 2024-25 season.
  • New pacts with incoming partners could be struck as soon as next summer.
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The upcoming NBA season marks the league’s final showcase for media companies interested in bidding for future league rights before negotiations begin in earnest in mid-2024.

Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery currently pay about $2.6 billion a year to broadcast games on ABC/ESPN and TNT, respectively, through the 2024-25 NBA season. Those companies have exclusive negotiating rights with the league through the end of the 2023-24 season — but the NBA is widely expected to let that window pass and put its full set of rights on the market.

When and if that happens, Disney and WBD will still be able to bid on new deals — and may be interested in exploring signing up for smaller packages, according to the Wall Street Journal

The two broadcasters show about 165 national TV games combined per season. If that number drops, it would open new inventory for the NBA to sell to other interested parties. That could include traditional network broadcasters like NBC, plus new-age streamers like Amazon, Apple, and YouTube — all of which have recently become partners of top U.S. sports leagues.

The NBA will also have the option of separating its in-season tournament, debuting this fall, as its own broadcast package.

A larger number of partners could help the NBA maximize its revenue intake. If it were to triple its current deal, it could see a total value north of $75 billion. In addition, higher media rights fees mean more money for the players — who take in about 50% of league revenue under the current CBA.

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