NBA's TV rights negotiation with ESPN, Warner expected to pass without deal

The National Basketball Association's exclusive negotiating window with current media partners Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery is set to expire without a new deal, according to sources familiar with the matter. The NBA will now be able to explore agreements with new potential partners such as Amazon, Apple, YouTube TV, Comcast's NBCUniversal/Peacock, and Netflix.

While no agreement is expected to be reached by the deadline, both Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery are still in discussions with the NBA. The league is seeking to bring in at least one new partner to serve as a flagship streamer, prioritizing marketing and reach on their platform. The NBA generated $24 billion from its previous media rights deal and is looking to double that amount by adding new partners and increasing fees.

The league's negotiations with Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery are complicated due to the likely addition of a third party. Both companies are hesitant to lose their existing rights and are wary of paying significantly more for what they already have. The NBA playoffs last year were the most watched in 11 years across various networks, indicating the value of live sports programming to advertisers.

Regular season viewership for the NBA has plateaued this year among standard cable and broadcast networks but remains strong overall. The first round of the NBA playoffs is set to begin on Saturday, with the league looking to capitalize on its popularity and secure new media partnerships moving forward. The value of live sports programming continues to rise, making the NBA an attractive asset for potential media partners.


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