SBJ: ESPN, Turner nearing new massive TV deal with NBA; Nothing for Fox Sports 1

Sports Business Daily’s John Lombardo and John Ourand have an exclusive that Fox Sports 1 won’t even get to take a swing at landing a portion of the next NBA TV deal.

The NBA and its network partners expect to reach an agreement in principle on new long-term media deals by the start of the regular season, according to sources on all sides of the discussions.

Talks have progressed so rapidly that details are emerging on a massive agreement that would see the league’s annual rights fee more than double, with ESPN and Turner combining to pay more than $2 billion per year on average. One source said ESPN already has committed to pay “well over” $1 billion per year, and Turner is not far behind for a media rights extension that would kick in with the 2016-17 season.

As part of the current eight-year deals that end in June 2016, ESPN pays $485 million per year and Turner pays $445 million per year on average, bringing the league’s total take at just less than $1 billion per year.

But that figure would be dwarfed in a new deal that several sources pegged as an eight-year pact, though one source with knowledge of the talks said it ultimately could end up running nine years.

A final deal might not be signed or announced before the new season, but talks with ESPN and Turner are advanced enough that sources said there is little chance the NBA will carve out a third package for another network, like Fox Sports or NBC Sports. ESPN, in particular, has been adamant during negotiations that the NBA not develop a new package to sell to a competitive sports network, sources said.

The deal is huge for ESPN and especially Turner, which has its sports identity linked to the NBA. And it is a big blow for Fox Sports 1. The new network needed the cache of the NBA to enable it to reach another level.

And let’s not forget the owners and players. It’s a very good day for them.



2 thoughts on “SBJ: ESPN, Turner nearing new massive TV deal with NBA; Nothing for Fox Sports 1

  1. And its a crummy day for cable subscribers. It likely means ESPN & Turner will be charging more for cable, and cable customers will be subject to higher rates or possibly blackouts.

    Always amazed that when a team raises ticket prices, there’s numerous articles about how they’re squeezing more money from the fan. But when there’s a new TV deal, no one mentions the inevitable increase to fans (and non-fans).

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