Saturday, July 20, 2024

NBA’s new TV rights deals, explained: How Amazon, NBC and ESPN will change future basketball broadcasts | Sporting News Australia

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Times are changing in the NBA.

We witnessed a passing of the torch in real-time during the NBA Playoffs, as stars like LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were all eliminated early. Instead, the next generation of players, like Jayson Tatum, Luka Doncic and Anthony Edwards, led the charge as their teams moved on.

As new faces continue to take over the NBA, the league has agreed to a lucrative new television deal to bring the game to as many viewers as possible. The NBA’s current television deal is set to expire after the 2024-25 season, and there were plenty of rumblings as to which networks would be a part of the new deal.

Major brands like Disney (ESPN) and Amazon were rumored to have deals in place with the NBA, and the league reportedly wanted three networks to carry its games. The final decision pulled at fans’ heartstrings, teetering between a current partner, Warner Bros. Discovery, and a former partner, NBCUniversal.

Warner Bros. Discovery owns TNT, which meant the fan-favorite studio show “Inside the NBA” with Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith would be in jeopardy. A deal with NBCUniversal meant the return of “NBA on NBC,” bringing back a piece of nostalgia with the network’s signature “Roundball Rock” theme song that was associated with the league from 1990 to 2002.

As the NBA agrees to a new deal that’s set to kick off at the start of the 2025-26 season, The Sporting News breaks down where you’ll be able to watch future NBA games below.

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NBA television rights deal

The NBA has finalized TV deals with ESPN, NBC and Amazon, but TNT still has an opportunity to match, according to The Athletic’s Andrew Marchand.

“… The NBA will send the finished contracts to TNT Sports. At that point, the company will have five days to make its move. If it declines, then the NBA is expected to be an official announcement before the Olympics, which open on July 26,”  Marchand reported on July 10.

The agreement will extend 11 seasons and be worth $76 billion, per Marchand’s sources.

How will games be distributed between each network? Take a closer look below.

What games will be on ESPN?

ESPN will “slightly cut down” on their number of regular season games, “going from around 100 now to the range of 80,” per The Athletic.

ESPN will broadcast games on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays during the NFL season, then add Friday night action after the NFL season ends.

All three platforms will have playoff games, but ESPN will keep its Conference Finals and NBA Finals coverage after paying a reported $2.6 billion for the rights, according to The Athletic and The Wall Street Journal.

ESPN and ABC have owned the rights to the NBA Finals since it took over for NBA on NBC in 2002.

What games will be on Amazon?

Amazon Prime Video has already tapped into the NFL’s schedule with “Thursday Night Football” and a few other games throughout the season. Now, it will reportedly be the home of NBA regular season games, along with some other tentpole events and playoff games.

Amazon is expected to pick up Thursday night primetime NBA coverage after “Thursday Night Football” concludes. It will also stream regular season games on Friday and Saturday nights.

Amazon will be the new home of the NBA’s In-Season Tournament. Additionally, it will carry playoff games and alternate Conference Finals showings with NBC.

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What games will be on NBC?

NBCUniversal is expected to unveil a “Basketball Night in America” telecast on Sunday nights once football season ends, similar to its “Football Night in America.”

NBC will also have primetime games on Tuesdays throughout the entire NBA season, as well as “exclusive telecasts” on its streaming service, Peacock, on Mondays.

NBC will host playoff games and alternate Conference Finals broadcasts with Amazon.

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