NBA Gets Creative In Quest For Potential $75B Media Rights Deal

The NBA enters the 2023-24 season with the clear intent of showcasing itself to potential broadcast partners bidding for media rights next summer.

Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery hold the NBA’s U.S. media rights for two more seasons, but the league can begin negotiating with other companies after this season ends. Theoretically, the NBA could enter the 2024-25 season with new deals in place a year before they would start in the fall of 2025.

A key league initiative this season will be making sure its best players are playing as often as possible — especially in marquee matchups. Under more stringent rules, the NBA’s 30 teams can be fined more than $1 million for resting “star” players in certain scenarios.

Another key element that could add media value this year is the NBA’s new in-season tournament. If the games provide enough drama, the tournament could be sold as its own broadcast package in the next set of deals.

Streamers In The Mix

In an effort to expand its revenue generation, the NBA may look to sell more packages consisting of fewer games. That could give incumbent partners Disney and WBD — who air games on ESPN/ABC and TNT, respectively — the chance to retain some rights while also bringing in new broadcasters. 

Interested parties reportedly include Comcast-owned NBC and Amazon’s Prime Video. Sources told Front Office Sports that Amazon wants to create an exclusive night of streaming NBA games similar to what the NFL currently has with “Thursday Night Football.”

Other streamers like Apple and Google’s YouTube could look to get in the mix, too.

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