The iron is not going to be hotter for sports rights television deals. In a world where we DVR “Mad Men” and “Game of Thrones” to watch whenever our schedule suits us, sports remains appointment viewing — you will find out what happens if you wait. And in the case of the NBA you get a decidedly young and hard to reach demographic watching your network live.
So before the television rights bubble bursts (the MLB’s new eight-year deal doubled their old one), the NBA is going to open discussions on its next television rights deal this summer, reports Sports Business Daily. The current deal totals about $930 million annually but the next deal is expected to be considerably larger.
While the current deal with ABC/ESPN/Turner isn’t up until 2016, the league isn’t going to wait for the market to soften.
The league plans to wait for its playoffs to end in June before turning its focus to the media package, sources said. While those informal talks are likely to take place, a formal deal is not expected until next year, when current NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver replaces David Stern as commissioner.
The NBA would not comment on its coming discussions, but the league’s TV business was an agenda topic at the NBA’s April 19 board of governors meeting.
Certainly, the ABC/ESPN/TNT group is the incumbent frontrunner and will be very interested in a new deal. However, it is no secret that the NBC Sports Network (in case you needed it pointed out, you are reading an NBC site now) and Fox Sports, which launches Fox Sports 1 this summer, are both trying to get rights to more sports properties and would be interested in getting in on the discussions. The Sports Business Journal reports as much.
It’s just something to watch, but we all know television and television rights drive the NBA business, so what happens here will impact us as fans.