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Report: NBA to open up discussions of new TV contract this summer

May 13, 2013, 5:12 PM EDT

guy watching television Getty Images

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.

  1. Mr. Wright 212 - May 13, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Please go back to NBC, and bring back the NBA on NBC, with Marv, Steve “Snapper” Jones, the… the Czar… Mike Fratello, Goukas, Costas, and BILL WALTON, please!

    • jaerba - May 13, 2013 at 5:25 PM

      You’re forgetting the most important part!

      • Mr. Wright 212 - May 13, 2013 at 6:16 PM

        That’s precisely why I want it back, jaerba ha.

      • money2long - May 13, 2013 at 7:46 PM

        i enjoyed hearing this nba on nbc beat in the background as i read through the comments !

      • nolahxc - May 14, 2013 at 7:35 AM

        B-B-B-B-B-Basketball, gimme gimme gimme the ball cuz now i’m gonna dunk it!

    • cantonbound13 - May 13, 2013 at 5:56 PM

      I could do without Walton, the rest are fine.

    • iamhoraceknight - May 13, 2013 at 6:36 PM

      I Agree ….. and Bill Walton was Always Funny to me…

      Quote: When Speaking about a Game that Glen Robinson was playing in his return to Milwaukee

      Play-by-Play Guy, ” Robinson has taking a few bad shots in a row, he seem to be reverting back to his old Milwaukee ways”

      Walton, ” Seems More Like he’s Been Drinking Ole Milwaukee.”


      • Mr. Wright 212 - May 13, 2013 at 7:31 PM

        Walton just doesn’t give two shts and that’s why he’s hilarious.

    • jimmymarlinsfan - May 13, 2013 at 8:03 PM

      I agree but anyone and I mean anyone but Bill Walton

      • cantonbound13 - May 13, 2013 at 10:32 PM

        Finally, you’re starting to agree with me. So what should the Heat do with broken down Wade?

      • jimmymarlinsfan - May 13, 2013 at 10:48 PM

        Don’t you worry, he will have plenty of rest going into the eastern conference finals against the Pacers

      • cantonbound13 - May 13, 2013 at 10:53 PM

        How about the Bruins? Big comeback. Or are you a Penguins fan in Boston, bandwagoner?

      • jimmymarlinsfan - May 13, 2013 at 11:18 PM

        Nope. Still rock my Florida Panthers jersey that I got for my birthday back in 96. Even made quite a few friends with Bruins fans for having the cojones to wear it in the Gaaaaaaaaaden.

  2. iowahbr - May 13, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    I do lmiss Walton but I would look for a way to get Barkley as well.

  3. eventhorizon04 - May 13, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    I’d expect NBC to make a big push.

    Just as “Sunday Night Football on NBC” was a BIG boost to their ratings, NBC desperately needs more content for their NBC Sports Network channel, which is their cable competitor to ABC’s ESPN.

    If they start carrying NBA games along with NHL and especially NFL games, that would make them a huge force in sports coverage.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - May 13, 2013 at 6:19 PM

      I agree, because hockey is regaining steam again (pending the NEXT Bettman coup of a lockout SMH), and they already garner YUGE ratings on SNF…

  4. cantonbound13 - May 13, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Someone needs to give Shaq lessons on public speaking. He mumbles so much, you can hardly understand him.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - May 13, 2013 at 6:25 PM

      Like Barkley is any more intelligible? lmao I feel you though.

  5. starks3 - May 13, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    I’ve probably watched close to 100 games this year, and DVR’d 90% of them. Granted I don’t hold them until the next day, I still watch the same day/night but I don’t watch commercials until close to the end of the 4th qtr by waiting an hour to start the game. Time shifting is a way of life for many, and I tend to think alot more people watch sports like me than the “pro leagues” would admit. If you don’t time shift sports than you have more time than I do. A 2 1/2 hour NBA game can be done in less than an hour. A 4 hour NFL game can be cut to 1 1/2 hours. Do that over the course of 1 season you can save maybe 2 days worth of your time in a year!!

    • Mr. Wright 212 - May 13, 2013 at 6:26 PM

      You’re right, although the live effect makes me not want to pass that up for NFL. Given that it is only a couple of days out of the week, it’s not that big of a deal to me.

      But NBA, other than playoffs, if the Knicks or Lakers are not playing during the regular season, my LIFE comes before sitting around and watching 2-3 games a night like I did when I was in grade school and absorbed everything NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL back in the 80s.

  6. iamhoraceknight - May 13, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    The NBA on ABC and ESPN Is Terrible… “Turrible”

    Please Go Back The “NBA on NBC” and Give Turner The 2 or 3 Nights Per Week like Before.

    I was a Huge Fan Of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (TNT-TBS-TNT).

    ESPN/ABC Announcers Add NOTHING To The Game. PLEASE Go Back to NBC and Increased Turner Broadcasting.

    Thanks In Advance

    • moseskkim - May 13, 2013 at 7:11 PM

      wish i could thumbs up one more, might go to my cell phone to do it hehe

    • Mr. Wright 212 - May 13, 2013 at 7:32 PM

      I was a fan of that setup in the 80s and early 90s.

  7. logisticalvoices - May 13, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    We want the NBA on NBC theme song and we want it right now. Long live John Tesh!

  8. rajbais - May 13, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    Bring it back to NBC!!!!!!

    Don’t “totally” leave ESPN, but get a better national/non-cable network!!!

    ABC is terrible and it and ESPN are too socially detached from society to where they don’t brand the NBA. They ONLY brand the Lakers and Knicks!!! Maybe the Heat, but at least it deserves it!!!

    The play-by-play announcers: Too talkative!!! Do you have to describe every freakin’ thing, including ALL the misses???

    Breen, Tirico, Mark Jones, Dave Pasch = All about them and NOT ENOUGH FIRE IN THE VOICE!!!

    Wilbon and Bill Simmons were less qualified than Peter Vecsey was at NBC.

    Plus, ESPN and ABC have been so terrible for the NBA to where they used to put less than enthusiastic announcers like Jack Ramsey and Kevin Calabro on TV in the mid 2000′s.

    The theme music is corny!!!

    Can we all agree now that ESPN/ABC sullied the NBA coverage that it no longer deserves???


    At worst, get with FS1, FX, and FOX Sports!!!! Gus Johnson baby!!!

    ESPN doesn’t deserve its coverage quantity!!!!

    Anything with David Stern’s fingerprints need to cleaned off!!!! He was a glorified agent and did nothing for the game; the players did and he did us a disservice by giving us bad networks for NBA coverage!!!

    NBC and FOX helped the NFL. Ideally, have BOTH help your league!!!

    It’s better than steroid era beneficiary Major League Baseball!!!

  9. cantonbound13 - May 13, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    The players were much more entertaining in the 80’s & 90’s. They actually had personalities and skill.

  10. bnwpnw - May 14, 2013 at 3:19 AM

    Hey networks! Don’t forget to use “The Stern Hole” of NBA non-interest in Seattle as a leverage point when negotiating your deal. Worth a billion or two off the top over the course of the contract if you ask me.

    -Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing employees with lots of disposable income who can’t buy your advertisers’ products if they don’t know about them.

  11. nolahxc - May 14, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    Not sure if I really want NBC to have basketball again…

    …or if I just really want the NBC basketball theme song to make a comeback.

  12. rajbais - May 14, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    ESPN deserves 60-80% of its regular season share. ABC doesn’t.

    ESPN presents the NBA so blandly and only let’s its programming be about the announcers than the league. Plus, they it doesn’t make fans smarter unlike TNT or ex-NBA coaches that are radio show guests.

    Let NBC or Fox be there for non-cable viewing and also have games go to NBCSN or FS1.

    League branding is needed unlike what ESPN only does “Laker Branding” and “opinion fatiguing”!!!

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