Report: NBA trying to double broadcast rights fees from Disney/Time Warner

20 Comments

Last season, the NBA got $930 million in broadcast rights fees from Disney (owners of ESPN and ABC) and Time Warner (owners of Turner and therefore TNT).

Not shabby, you say? Major League Baseball gets $1.5 billion (from three different entities) and the NFL gets $4.9 billion. The NBA wants a bigger slice of the pie.

In their new television deal, the NBA is looking to double that, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The NBA and its existing broadcast partners have been in negotiations on a new deal since last summer and where those negotiations stand will be part of the conversation when NBA owners sit down for their annual summer meetings in Las Vegas this week.

Among the conversations to take place, according to the report.

• Splitting the NBA Finals broadcasts between TNT and ABC. While TNT (which helps operate NBA TV) covers games Tuesday/Thursday night games all season and a number of games in the playoffs, ABC has the Finals. TNT wants in on the Finals. (Most fans seem to prefer the TNT broadcasts, particularly the pre/post game shows on TNT, where Inside the NBA is one of the best shows in sports.) However dividing up a series (some games on one network, some on another), so some fans have to go hunting for the station, is a pretty big role of the dice.

• The NBA can’t negotiate with other entities yet. However, before leaving office former commissioner David Stern said he like the NFL model where the sport was split among every network. It is thought the NBA wants to add a nightly national game, maybe Saturday night, broadcast with a new partner (Fox Sports is rumored to be the frontrunner there).

Sports broadcast rights are skyrocketing in price in recent years because in a world where we DVR/stream everything and fast-forward through the advertisements, sports are appointment viewing. You pretty much have to watch them when they happen, you can’t DVR Game 5 of the NBA Finals and watch it two days later without already knowing what happened.

The NBA’s ratings have been climbing for several seasons.

However the new deal works out, the new television revenue would kick in starting in the summer of 2016.

For teams and players this means more cash (the salary cap is based on a split of league revenues between the owners and players) — the current salary cap of $63 million is expected to jump that year up to $75 million or more, according to reports. That means more money in contracts — it’s one key reason LeBron James signed a two-year deal in Cleveland. He will be a free agent in 2016 and if the salary cap jumps $10 million a max salary for him would jump $3.5 million a year.

Watch Michael Jordan’s best highlight from each of his playoff runs (video)

Leave a comment

I’ve become a sucker for this highlight format.

Jazz deny rumored promise to draft D.J. Wilson

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Michigan forward D.J. Wilson said he’d stay in the draft only if he’d go in the first round. Yet, despite not doing any on-court work at the combine, the borderline first-rounder remained in the draft beyond the withdrawal deadline.

What gives?

Rod Beard of The Detroit News:

Kyle Goon of The Salt Lake Tribune:

NBA teams sometimes promise to draft a player. They never reveal that before the draft. So, Utah’s denial doesn’t mean much – even if it’s true.

The Jazz were the last team to give Wilson a full work out before he injured himself in a Spurs workout. So, this rumor could be based on circumstantial evidence rather than leak of a Utah guarantee.

Wilson would make sense for the Jazz, who could see their payroll bloat if they re-sign Gordon Hayward and George Hill (and maybe even Joe Ingles). They could move Derrick Favors, an interior who doesn’t exactly fit with Rudy Gobert. Wilson would give Utah another option with Trey Lyles as developing stretch fours behind Boris Diaw. (Utah could even move Diaw and count on Lyles/Wilson to emerge sooner than later.)

Watch LeBron James’ top highlight from each of his postseason appearances (video)

AP Photo/Ron Schwane
Leave a comment

LeBron James and Tony Parker are the only players to play in the last dozen postseasons.

(If you’re wondering, Manu Ginobili missed the 2009 playoffs due to an ankle injury.)

It’s fair to say LeBron was a bit more spectacular than Parker in that span. As LeBron enters his seventh straight Finals, the NBA released this awesome video showing LeBron’s best playoff highlight from each year:

There’s no entry for this year. Here’s betting it comes against the Warriors in the NBA Finals.

David Stern: We thought we could re-work Chris Paul-to-Lakers trade until Mitch Kupchak ‘panicked’

AP Photo/Kathy Willens
4 Comments

NBA commissioner David Stern – acting as New Orleans’ owner representative, he says – infamously vetoed a potential Chris Paul-to-Lakers trade in 2011.

But that didn’t close the possibility of Paul going to the Lakers.

The New Orleans Hornets (now the Pelicans and not be confused with the current Charlotte Hornets), Lakers and Rockets tried to rework the three-team trade that would’ve sent Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to Houston and Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and a first-round pick to New Orleans. But talks fell apart around the time the Lakers dealt Odom to the Mavericks.

Stern on Nunyo & Company (hat tip: Harrison Feigen of Silver Screen & Roll):

In fact, in the course of the weekend, we thought we could re-do the deal. We really thought that Houston would be ready to part with Kevin Lowry, and we had a trade lined up for Odom that would have gotten us a good first-round draft pick – not we, but my basketball folks. But Mitch Kupchak at the time panicked and moved Odom to Dallas. So the piece wasn’t even there for us to play with at the time. So that was it — just about what was good for the then-New Orleans Hornets.

Remember, Stern – roundly criticized for his handling of this episode* – has blamed the Lakers and Rockets for the lingering perception. This could just be him again trying to shift responsibility.

*Somewhat fairly, somewhat not. Owners veto general manager-approved trades often enough, and Stern was acting as New Orleans’ owner after George Shinn sold the franchise back to the league. But Stern had an agenda as commissioner. He never should have assumed such a large conflict of interest. What he did with the Paul trade was reasonable for an acting owner, but because Stern was also commissioner, it’s fair to question how much New Orleans’ interests and how much the league’s interests factored into the decision-making.

But let’s take Stern at his word – that he and the Hornets thought they could re-do the trade and send Paul to the Lakers. That doesn’t mean they were right. Maybe the Lakers and Rockets (who had Kyle Lowry, not the “Kevin Lowry” Stern named) were never going to part with enough to get Stern’s approval.

And maybe New Orleans didn’t properly convey its interest in still completing a deal. Perhaps, Kupchak acted reasonably by trading Odom to Dallas – for a first-round pick, a deal Mark Cuban would ultimately regret – rather than wait around for the Hornets, who eventually sent Paul to the Clippers.

It’s easy to blame Kupchak, but he might tell a different story.