NBC Sports to bid for NBA return

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is preparing to enter negotiations for a new broadcast rights package, with Comcast's NBCUniversal, Apple, Amazon, and Disney's ESPN and ABC all expressing interest. Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns Turner Sports, and Disney currently own the NBA rights until the end of the 2024-2025 season, and no formal negotiations can take place until their exclusive negotiation windows end in April 2024.

The NBA is looking to increase their revenues from the current $25 billion to more than $70 billion over nine years, although there are predictions that the increase will be closer to 100%. It is unclear what the exact contents of the new package will be, but NBCUniversal is reportedly wanting to include playoff games on their broadcast network, while some regular season games could be exclusive to their streaming service, Peacock. It is also possible that the NBA will force media companies to simulcast all games on streaming to increase reach.

Amazon currently has a deal with the NBA allowing it to stream games in Brazil, while Disney is expected to bid on a package of rights for ESPN, ESPN+ and ABC. Warner Bros. Discovery's future relationship with the NBA is less certain, as their CEO has said they do not need the NBA. However, Warner Bros. Discovery has the popular "Inside the NBA" studio show, hosted by Ernie Johnson and former NBA stars Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O'Neal, and they will likely use this year to decide their future relationship with the league.

The NBA offers valuable live programming for advertisers and still commands millions of viewers, and it is expected that the league will carve out one or two new packages for bidders, pushing their media rights partners from two to either three or four. It is likely that the NBA will be able to increase revenue from its new TV deal, but details of the package will remain unclear until negotiations start in April 2024.


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