NBA Rumor: TV Rights

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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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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 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.
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October 27, 2021 | 2:40 am EDT Update