The NBA is looking to double the amount of television money it receives from Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc. in the league's next TV-rights contract, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Disney, the parent company of broadcasters ESPN and ABC, is currently paying $485 million per year over the eight-year contract with the NBA that is set to expire after the 2015-16 season. Turner, the parent company of TNT, is currently paying $445 million per year. Doubling those figures means the NBA's next TV contract could be worth around a total of $15 billion if the length of said contract remains eight years.
According to the report, the NBA is also considering the unprecedented move of splitting the NBA Finals between the two media entities, which could entail different networks splitting up Finals games each year or networks televising the Finals in alternating years. While ABC currently broadcasts the Finals in its entirety, Turner wants to stake a claim to the coverage in some way.
NBA owners are meeting Tuesday to discuss TV rights and other issues. The NBA cannot negotiate with other media entities unless it fails to reach a deal with current partners Disney and Time Warner, a process which could stretch into next year, the report says.
The increased TV money the NBA seeks reflects a general uptick in value among the league's franchises. Recent sales of teams include the Sacramento Kings for about $500 million, the Milwaukee Bucks for $550 million and the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion, though the latter deal is currently being fought in court between deposed owner Donald Sterling and his wife, Shelly.
Under the terms of the current contract, Disney/ESPN/ABC broadcasts games on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, with Turner/TNT broadcasting a doubleheader on Thursday and both entities getting a significant number of playoff games.
The value of television-rights deals have continually gone up as live sports remain one of the more valuable commodities for media companies. MLB receives a total of about $1.55 billion per year in its current deal with Fox, Turner and Disney/ESPN, according to Sports Business Daily, while the NFL receives about $4.9 billion per year from Fox, CBS, NBC and Disney/ESPN, according to Forbes.com.