NBA Close to $76 Billion TV Rights Deal With NBC, Amazon and Disney | Report

The league’s deals could translate to a 2.5 times increase in annual fees to an average of nearly $7 billion

NBA sports rights
Major entertainment companies are chasing NBA sports rights (Credit: Chris Smith/TheWrap)

The National Basketball Association is closing in on media deals with NBC, Amazon and Disney/ESPN that could see the league score about $76 billion in revenue over 11 years, according to The Wall Street Journal.

NBCUniversal is expected to pay the NBA an average of $2.5 billion a year to show around 100 games per season – half of which that would air exclusively on Peacock, an individual familiar with the terms confirmed to TheWrap. The games would air on NBC on Tuesdays and Sundays to avoid conflicting with the network’s “Sunday Night Football.”

Amazon would pay $1.8 billion for regular season and playoff games, the new NBA in-season tournament and “play-in” games where teams compete for the final payoff spots. The tech giant would also be given a share of the conference finals, which the media partners would split in a rotation, people familiar told the Journal.

Meanwhile, Disney would pay about $2.6 billion per year to continue to air the NBA Finals, up from its current $1.5 billion. The company would get fewer games than its current deal and ESPN would air games on its upcoming direct-to-consumer service slated to launch in 2025, the Journal said.

The deals, which would also include rights to WNBA telecasts, would go into effect after the 2024-2025 season. The new agreements could translate to a 2.5 times increase in annual fees for the NBA to an average of nearly $7 billion, according to the Journal.

The outlet emphasized that owners would need to approve the deals and that any announcement could still be a few weeks away.

Representatives for NBC, Amazon and Disney declined to comment. Representatives for the NBA did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment.

Warner Bros. Discovery, whose TNT network has aired NBA games since 1988, had a chance to renew its deal before an April 22 deadline.

The David Zaslav-led media giant, which reported $43.2 billion of gross debt during its first quarter of 2024, has the opportunity to match either NBC or Amazon’s bids, which could potentially result in a legal battle to enforce those rights, the Journal notes. WBD would have five days from when the deals with Amazon and NBC are formalized to match, CNBC reported.

In an April 30 research note, Citigroup analyst Jason Bazinet estimated that WBD losing the NBA could potentially cost them roughly $270 million in ad revenue per year and that TNT could see a roughly 45% decline in affiliate fees.

Without the NBA, the company could look to sublicense more sports, similar to the recent agreement it struck with ESPN for College Football Playoff games, or bid for other sports rights that come up for renewal, such as the UFC.

“We feel very comfortable and we’ve been very strategically focused on making sure that we have a robust offering of sports for each our sports channels in the U.S. and around the world,” Zaslav told Bernstein’s 40th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference.

In addition to the NBA, Warner currently has rights to NASCAR, the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball and the March Madness college basketball tournament. Warner is also currently in exclusive negotiations with All Elite Wrestling.

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