Maybe another cap spike will come with the league’s new TV deal in 2025, fueling the next Warriors-esque empire. Maybe another LeBron-like figure will emerge to dominate the landscape. Maybe some clever GM will assemble an elite cast without angering the tax gods. “Someone’s going to figure it out,” assures a veteran team executive.
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The latest broadcast contract is projected to be valued at $75 billion total — over $8 billion annually — and gambling giants like FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars Sportsbook are expected to make bids for live game rights, sources tell Front Office Sports.
So why is the NBA more valuable if it’s likely to have fewer fans watching? To some degree, it’s a reflection of a broader trend in the TV industry, which has been coping with dwindling audiences for many years but has still managed to charge advertisers the most ever for commercial time. Because while their ability to amass large viewerships has declined, there’s no substitute in the marketplace for delivering live eyeballs at scale, even if that scale has diminished. What’s also driving up the value of NBA TV rights is the possibility that the league can shop those rights to other bidders, namely the tech giants like Amazon and Facebook, which have already demonstrated a willingness to pay up for the right package. That said, at this point there’s little indication ESPN and Turner face any such threat, but that’s almost beside the point.
The NBA also has a $1.5 billion streaming deal with Chinese-based company Tencent Holdings. “I think everyone expects that so long as the public is demonstrating through ratings that they are watching the NBA, you can probably expect increases there as well,” said former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson. “I would think the NBA is going to look for significant increases.”
On a media call last week discussing the NFL’s new rights, ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said the network is “very pleased” with the NBA’s partnership and “how those games have performed.”
The outlook within NBA circles is that the league could triple the value of its current $24 billion deal, which runs through the 2024-25 season. Despite deteriorating linear TV ratings, it remains true that nothing beats live sports; in 2019, 89 of the 100 most-watched broadcasts were sports games. Although most of those were football games, the NBA reaches a more diverse and significantly younger audience.
Tim Bontemps: The league is clearly in love with the reaction to (the play-in tournament). And Amazon, which people in the league think could be in the mix for the next TV rights deal, is getting in the mix, paying for rights to this thing.
After the National Football League celebrated its history-making 11-year contract worth more than $100 billion, attention shifted to the NBA’s deal, which runs through the 2024-25 season. Early thinking within league circles suggests the NBA will seek a $75 billion rights package, up from its current $24 billion deal, which pays $2.6 billion per year.
One person familiar with sports media deals said the NBA could get $70.2 billion over nine years, using metrics including total viewer hours, which helps networks determine the value of sports league rights. The person also said tier-one sports rights are important to streaming services.
Harrison Wind: Altitude Sports & Entertainment released this statement today on their opposition to Comcast’s motion to dismiss filed on March 27 in US District Court: “Today, we continued our fight against Comcast’s executives in Philadelphia who are harming the Denver community and us…” pic.twitter.com/CCajzpLZxj
The next few years will see a land grab for broadcasting rights to various major sports leagues, including the NFL and NBA, as the leagues’ current deals expire. To position itself to compete for those rights, sports streaming service DAZN is making a land grab of its own. This year DAZN’s streaming footprint will expand from nine countries to more than 200 counties and territories, including the United Kingdom, Mexico, Australia and Russia. While the first phase of that expansion will center on boxing, the company is laying the groundwork to secure a wider array of sports rights internationally and domestically.
“Launching globally, that reinforces our position as a growing and legitimate broadcaster for those rights as they become available,” said Joseph Markowski, evp at DAZN, who will be overseeing the global service.
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October 27, 2021 | 2:40 am EDT Update
When asked specifically if this is one of those games where Simmons’ absence is felt, Rivers quickly dismissed that thought. “I don’t worry about that,” he quickly said. “Ben’s not here, so yeah. If we would’ve won the game, so, no. I don’t do that.”