Report: NBA, partners likely to agree to new media deal before season
The NBA and broadcast partners ESPN and Turner are likely to agree to a new media rights deal before the 2014-15 season begins, reports SportsBusinessDaily.com.
The new eight-year deal will reportedly be worth more than $2 billion a year on average, with ESPN committing to pay over $1 billion per year and Turner paying close to that figure. That would more than double the value of the current deal, which sees ESPN paying $485 million per year and Turner $415 million per year.
The NBA is in the midst of an exclusive negotiating window with its current partners and won't be able to negotiate with other media entities until next year if it fails to come to terms with ESPN and Turner. According to the report, it's unlikely any other company will have the chance to join the deal because of the apparent pending agreement with the two current partners.
Under terms of the new agreement, the two companies would retain their previous broadcast holdings: ESPN would have the right to broadcast the NBA Finals (on ABC), while Turner/TNT would hold on to its Thursday primetime coverage, the All-Star Game and the NBA's digital assets, including NBA TV and NBA.com.
One potential hang-up is the distribution of live streaming rights. The NBA is reportedly interested in selling those rights to a different media entity, while ESPN and Turner want to keep their streaming rights.
The current media rights deal expires at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season.
- Ben Estes