Lest anyone thought the heat in the value of televised sporting rights was diminishing, the National Basketball Association (NBA) in America has signed a nine year deal with Turner Broadcasting System and The Walt Disney Company worth $24 Billion.
It is an extension and an expansion of the current deal and was signed early in order to secure a deal without going into a bidding war with rival channels.
The price to the TV companies of having that exclusive negotiating period was a three fold increase in the value of the rights.
The current deal still remains in place with two more years to run and the new one will take the sport through to 2025.
In the 1960’s Basketball was on its knees and when the old American Basketball Association disbanded, in order to entice the four surviving franchises to stay with the sport and join the NBA there was a sweetheart deal in place that gave them one seventh of any future media rights revenue in perpetuity.
164 live games will be televised across the regular slots and there is an echo of the RTÉ Sport deal with the GAA that led to the formation this year of GAAGo in the importance attached to creating joint content.
Turner and the NBA already have an agreement whereby the station manage the sports digital assets including NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA Mobile, NBA League Pass, and WNBA.com.
Under the new deal, ESPN will be granted enhanced digital rights to provide NBA content for multiple ESPN platforms, including ESPN.com and WatchESPN.
Perhaps most importantly and of greatest relevance for the future, the NBA and ESPN have also established a framework to negotiate the launch of a new over-the-top offering in which the league would receive an equity interest. Details for the new offering will be announced at a future date.
The Women’s game features strongly again with games continuing to be televised on ABC and ESPN/ESPN2 through the 2025 season. ESPN also will have enhanced in-progress highlight rights for the WNBA on digital and linear platforms.
“The Walt Disney Company and Turner Broadcasting share responsibility for the growing popularity and interest the NBA enjoys, and we are thrilled to extend our partnerships,” said Commissioner Adam Silver.
“With these new agreements, our fans will continue to benefit from the outstanding NBA coverage and programming provided by ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV and their digital platforms.”
“These nine-year extensions with Disney and Turner recognize the extraordinary value of live premium sports.”
The details of the deal
• 64 regular-season games per year, up from a current 52 games
• Exclusive presentations of Opening Night and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day games
• Up to 45 playoff games during the first two rounds with exclusive presentations of conference semifinals games and one full conference finals series
• Exclusive presentations of the NBA All-Star Game and All-Star Saturday Night events
• Telecast of a first-ever, end-of-the-season annual NBA Awards Show
• Continuation of the Emmy award-winning “Inside the NBA” studio show
• TV Everywhere rights that allow for NBA content airing across Turner Broadcasting networks to be streamed live, delayed and on-demand across its digital platforms
• Digital media rights, including streaming TNT NBA games on a live, delayed and on-demand basis across all of its multimedia platforms
• Broader rights to distribute, via digital platforms, its NBA games and non-game programming, as well as new NBA-related content, on a live and on-demand basis
• Interactive online elements such as selected camera angles, statistic feeds and video to complement TNT’s game telecasts
• Enhanced content/digital rights to NBA content for Bleacher Report
• Exclusive broadband and other content for digital platforms, including studio shows
• Expanded event activation surrounding key NBA pillars such as Opening Night and playoffs
• 15 regular-season games on ABC beginning on Christmas and continuing on Sunday afternoons starting in January with the ability to move a few Sunday games to ESPN
• Exclusive regular-season, playoff and Finals broadcast coverage
• Best-of-seven Finals broadcast in primetime
• 85 regular-season games primarily on Wednesday and Friday nights, up from 70 games
• 30 playoff games in the first two rounds, with exclusive coverage presentations of conference semifinals games and one full conference finals series
• Exclusive presentations of the NBA Draft and NBA Draft Lottery
• Up to 20 NBA Summer League games on ESPN and ESPN2
• Extension of WNBA media agreement through the 2025 season
• Presentation of NBA Development League games on ESPN networks and digital platforms
• Framework for ESPN and the NBA to negotiate the launch of a new over-the-top offering with the league receiving an equity interest
• Enhanced digital media rights to deliver NBA content for ESPN platforms, including ESPN.com, WatchESPN and ESPN podcasts
• Increased ESPN Audio game package including NBA Finals, playoffs and regular season
• Spanish-language rights for ESPN Audio
• Significantly more exclusive regular-season games, playoff games and NBA-focused programming on ESPN platforms in Latin America, Pacific Rim and the Caribbean
• Opportunities to stream ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2 games on a live, delayed and on-demand basis across all of its multimedia platforms
• NBA and Turner to continue to manage jointly the NBA’s digital assets, which include NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA LEAGUE PASS, and the NBA Game Time app
• Over 100 regular-season games on NBA TV on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays, an increase from a current 96 games, and as many as nine playoff games on NBA TV
• Enhanced package of digital media opportunities