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

Jul 15, 2014, 3:40 PM EDT

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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.

  1. sisisisisisisi - Jul 15, 2014 at 3:54 PM

  2. rhetoric1 - Jul 15, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    role of the dice!

    • milimpilim - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:02 PM

      Coincidentally enough, their role is to roll.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Jul 15, 2014 at 5:32 PM

      I knew someone would catch that before I felt compelled to comment ha.

  3. jimeejohnson - Jul 15, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    “Good. I love paying even more for cable tv and Disneyland. I hope the CEOs get a big fat raise!”

    -Useful Idiot Pawn (for the rich) Jimee

    • norcal031 - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:39 PM

      Seriously. Comcast is raising my bill 40 this year for nothing. I wish there was a sports only package. Thank god for il3mi!!!!

  4. iloveopenbar - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    i cancelled my cable due to high prices a while ago. i’ve gotten used to life without cable and have figured out less expensive methods of keeping up with baseball and basketball. and i don’t need cable for football.

    if they’re looking to emulate the nfl, then putting the playoffs on cable is not the way to do it.

    • 4thquartermagic - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:55 PM

      If they want to emulate the NFL they should try an implement some parity to this league.

      They’ve only had nine different teams win the championship in the last 30 years.

      Not what I call “Must See TV.”

      • louderthanwords1 - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:52 PM

        What more could you possibly do to create parity? Looking at a more recent history going back the last 15 years there have only been 6 different winners but 12 different teams have played in the finals. A few of the teams who didn’t make the finals were the Kings, Bulls, Suns, Trailblazers and Nuggets and they all went into seasons with realistic chances to win it all at somepoint. The point of parity is to make sure every team has a chance to win it all which they do. Yes there are teams that seemingly never have a chance but that’s because of poor decision making. Teams that have had the 1st pick in the draft over the last 15 years who haven’t been to the finals outside of the teams I already mentioned are Washington(Kwame Brown, Wall), Milwaukee(Bogut), Toronto(Bargnani) and the Clippers(Griffin).These teams all had a chance to draft the top player and either missed or havent put the pieces around them.

    • baywatchboy - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:36 PM

      If they put The Finals on TNT, they become more like college football who puts 90% of their bowl games on ESPN. People can’t watch. The number of homes with cable is dropping every year. I do subscribe to NBATV, but that is because I’m a Wizards fan living in LA. I can watch all of their games until playoff time. It’s the same for the NHL and NASCAR (once they stop broadcasting on FOX).

      Even the NFL is crewing the fans with games on Thursday nights that are on cable. To me, the leagues are basically saying that they really don’t care if people watch.

      • iloveopenbar - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:57 PM

        nfl does one thing different with games that are on cable. they broadcast them on local channels for the teams involved in a game.

        if the sixers make the playoffs (hypothetical of course), those games are not available to me unless i have cable.

        the real problem is that too many people are willing to pay those high cable prices.

  5. rajbais - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    Dump ABC. Bring in Fox and FS1 w/ESPN and TNT. Baseball has Fox, FS1, TBS & ESPN.

    It’s not as if the ads on ABC are more than 5 seconds. It’s just “The NBA Finals. 9/8 central on ABC.” No joke.

    An annual payment of $1.8 billion is nothing. They deserve at least $2.5 billion.

    The league of the world taking a discount??? Like ESPN has no $$$? They have the Longhorn Network and Tebow’s new home, SEC Network.

    It’s time that the NBA become what the NFL was with Fox post-CBS: new, hot, up and coming, and hot for the young. That’s a money maker. Not MLB.

  6. bucrightoff - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:22 PM

    Dump ESPN/ABC, bring back NBC.

    • romestar82 - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:40 PM

      This is THE NBA ON NBC

  7. greatmiamisportsmind - Jul 15, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    Monday’s Spike TV
    Tuesday’s ESPN/ABC
    Wednesday NBC
    Thursday TNT
    Friday CBS
    Saturday NBCSN
    Sunday TBS

  8. jadaruler - Jul 15, 2014 at 5:10 PM

    Hopefully NBC or Fox gets involved. Save us from Bill Simmons and Jalen. I can deal with their Grantland work, but the ABC show is dreadful.

  9. scoochpooch - Jul 15, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    I never thought it would happen but I’m been DVR-ing through sports for almost 3 years now. I find it impossible to watch any other way.

  10. elcaminobilly - Jul 15, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    Putting the finals on two different channels is no great mystery. The rest of the playoffs are split up on multiple channels until you get to the conference finals, and it does not hurt them at all.

  11. DonRSD - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    Bring back NBAonNBC

    You young bucks dont know about that.

  12. ufools - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    Inside the nba one of the best shows in sports?? What the eff??? Fire 2 of the 4 and maybe…..chuck and shaq….god awful.

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