Television money is part of the reason David Stern and the league shut down the first couple weeks of the NBA season. There are some big new television deals on the horizon — the Lakers have a massive one that kicks in next season, the Celtics just modified theirs, then there is the national TV deal that kicks in for 2016 — and the owners don’t want to share that money with the players.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has seen the machinations around a proposed “Longhorn Network” for the University of Texas, and he’s not sure it will work (because UT didn’t get equity in the deal, he has a point there).
But a Dallas Mavericks Network… that might work, he told Multichannel News via the Dallas Morning News.
When asked about creating a Mavs network, Cuban said, “Yeah of course, when my deal is up. Absolutely. I think Time Warner [Cable] is kind of our incumbent [in the Dallas area] and HD Net is not on Time Warner. So will I package the two to get one? Absolutely.”
This ties into another issue in the negotiations — the owners tell the players they have opened their books to them and the league lost $300 million last season. But among the many questions the union has is how owners can use their current NBA ownership to boost their other businesses. In Cleveland, Dan Gilbert got a sweetheart deal to build a couple casinos because of the LeBron-era Cavs popularity. Or in this case, Cuban can use the Mavericks to leverage Time Warner to pick up his HDNet channel.
None of this is happening for a while, the Mavs deal with Time Warner runs through 2017. But the owners are looking that far down the line and how to get more of the revenue that will come in that far away, which is why we are where we are with the lockout.