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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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RSNs To Broadcast British Basketball League Amid Uncertainty

  • In the past week, the British Basketball League announced media rights deals with NBC Regional Sports Networks and New England Sports Network.
  • BBL games will now be available in nine states.
A player from the London Lions drives to the hoop in a British Basketball League game against the Surrey Scorchers.
The British Basketball League

As regional sports networks lose ground in the United States, they’re turning to a rising sports media property across the pond.

On Wednesday, the British Basketball League announced it reached a media rights agreement with NBC Sports Regional Sports Networks for the 2023-24 season. Given NBCSN’s current reach, the games will be available in the Bay Area, Northern California, Chicago, and Philadelphia. 

This comes one week after the BBL announced a similar partnership with New England Sports Network, which services the six New England states. 

The RSNs will showcase games on Thursdays and Fridays throughout the season in both situations. This includes British Basketball League Trophy Finals in January, the 2024 British Basketball League All-Star Game in March, and the 2024 British Basketball League Playoff Finals in May. 

“This deal between NBC Sports Regional Networks and the British Basketball League signifies a major step forward for our League,” the league’s CEO Aaron Radin said. “Bringing the excitement of British basketball to fans across these regions gives us an opportunity to welcome new fans into our league and showcase our world-class talent – a number of whom hail from American colleges – to new audiences.”

The RSN model is beginning to break down following the bankruptcy of Diamond Sports Group, with the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, and Arizona Coyotes among the teams left without a local broadcaster as their seasons began. NBC Sports and NESN’s investment in the BBL shows that RSNs are still looking for content.

Although it’s been around since 1987, the BBL is experiencing a surge in relevance: In April, Toronto Raptors star and British national O.G. Anunoby became a minority owner in the league’s London Lions, owned by private equity firm 777 Partners.

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