Saturday, July 20, 2024

Report: NBA media rights deal finalized with ESPN, Amazon, NBC. What to know about megadeal

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Live sporting events still pay.

That’s the message derived from the NBA’s new TV and media rights deal that will net the league approximately $76 billion in a 11-year deal – $6.9 billion per season – from Disney (ABC/ESPN), NBC and Amazon, according to The Athletic’s Andrew Marchand.

The NBA’s new TV deal annually almost triples the current agreement which began in 2015-16 and ends after the 2024-25 season. The new contract will kick in starting with 2025-26 and end in 2036-37.

Turner Sports (TNT) is not part of the new agreement. Turner Sports does have an opportunity to match a portion of the deal, which might be Amazon’s piece of the package, according to Marchand.

Disney will pay $2.6 billion, NBC $2.5 billion and Amazon $1.8 billion annually in a deal that introduces a more prominent streaming service to the NBA’s media partners. Bringing Amazon into the fold is not a surprise given it has a deal to stream WNBA games, and the league has crafted a working relationship with the company.

The return of the NBA on NBC

Could “Roundball Rock” make a comeback? The “NBA on NBC” theme song, one of the most iconic in history, could make another appearance as the Peacock network is back in the basketball business, agreeing to a broadcast deal to carry the league’s third package of games. NBC takes over for Turner Sports.

Comcast’s NBCUniversal reportedly will pay $2.5 billion a year for its package. The Finals are still scheduled to air exclusively on ABC and ESPN.

Overall, the NBA has agreed to a new media rights deal that would pay the league just about $7 billion a season and commence in the 2025-2026 season.

The previous media deal, announced in 2014, was worth $24 billion − $2.67 billion annually −and continued the league’s relationship with ESPN/ABC and TNT.

Amazon’s part in the NBA TV deal

The NBA is now in the streaming business.

The league and Amazon agreed to a deal in which the streaming service would pay $1.8 billion a year to broadcast games. The company’s deep pockets would add to its sports portfolio, which includes the NFL, which it pays $1 billion a year for “Thursday Night Football.”

Amazon is slated to become the home of the NBA’s In-Season tournament, per reports.

ESPN and ABC have had the premiere NBA regular season and postseason package since the 2002-03 season, snagging those rights from NBC, which aired games for 12 years during the height of the Michael Jordan era.

What does this mean for the NBA TNT crew?

“Inside the NBA,” Turner’s outstanding studio show, could see its last season in 2025.

Ernie Johnson said that he would remain at Turner if the network lost its NBA rights. Charles Barkley said if TNT moves on from basketball, he’ll become a free agent and is not sure about the show moving forward, especially after Johnson’s comments.

The show has won 18 Sports Emmy Awards, including six for best weekly show, with Johnson and Barkley winning multiple Emmys for best studio host and studio analyst, respectively.

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