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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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TNT Sports Locks in New Media-Rights Deals As NBA Decision Looms

  • This week, TNT Sports struck a college football deal with the Mountain West Conference.
  • Other recent pacts include the College Football Playoff and French Open.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As TNT Sports remains on the brink of losing NBA media rights, its parent company Warner Bros. Discovery continues to strike new deals with other leagues and properties to serve as alternatives to professional basketball broadcasts. Last week, it was Big East basketball. This week, it’s Mountain West football. And more could be on the way.

It’s an intriguing strategy being taken by TNT Sports, which aired more than 100 NBA games during the most recent regular season and playoffs. So, with that programming likely to end after the upcoming NBA season, TNT Sports has five new deals that are set to kick in either this year or in 2025:

  • Mountain West Conference: 14 football games per season through ‘25.
  • College Football Playoff: First-round and some quarterfinal games through ’28.
  • Big East Conference: Men’s and women’s basketball games from ’25 to ’31.
  • French Open: $65 million annual deal through ’34.
  • NASCAR: five annual races from ’25 to ’31. 

Of those deals, all struck within the last eight months, only the French Open gives TNT Sports all of a property’s U.S. broadcast rights. Still, they all represent a variety of new offerings, complementing the existing TNT Sports portfolio, which includes marquee properties like March Madness, the NHL, and MLB.

Meanwhile, the expansion comes as more TNT Sports broadcasts are set to be streamed on Max, which recently launched a live sports tier, as well as Venu Sports, the joint venture that WBD has partnered on with ESPN and Fox. Additionally, more TNT Sports broadcasts are heading to TruTV, which will be the case for Mountain West games.

What’s Next?

While the NBA on TNT may be over come 2025, there should be more live sports rights to be had. And a source tells Front Office Sports to expect TNT Sports to remain aggressive in pursuing more deals.

The Mountain West’s primary deal with CBS and Fox runs for two more seasons, giving TNT Sports a chance to test the waters through its new, smaller set of football games. The UFC’s pact with ESPN expires at the end of 2025. Even the NFL, which has $110 billion contracts running through ’33, remains open for new suitors—as evidenced by the Netflix deal for Christmas Day games.

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