Television

NBA to receive $ 24 billion over 9 years from Walt Disney, Time Warner

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BENGALURU: The National Basketball Association, USA (NBA) is likely to receive $ 24 billion (about Rs 1,47,000 crore) from Time Warner’s TNT and Disney’s ESPN and APC Networks in a renewed contract over 9 years according to a Bloomberg report. The channels will carry NBA games through 2024-25, paying almost triple the amount for the contract that is set to expire in 2015-16. According to Bloomberg, the channels pay a combined USD 930 million (approximately Rs 5700 crore) a year to the NBA.

According to an NBA press release, the agreements were announced on 6 October, by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver; Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, chairman of the NBA's Media Committee; Turner Broadcasting System President David Levy; and ESPN President and Disney Media Networks Co-Chairman John Skipper. The NBA's current eight-year deals with ABC/ESPN and TNT expire at the end of the 2015-16 season.

"The Walt Disney Company and Turner Broadcasting share responsibility for the growing popularity and interest the NBA enjoys, and we are thrilled to extend our partnerships," said Silver. "With these new agreements, our fans will continue to benefit from the outstanding NBA coverage and programming provided by ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV and their digital platforms."

"These nine-year extensions with Disney and Turner recognise the extraordinary value of live premium sports," said Leonsis. "On behalf of our Media Committee and the other team owners, we thank Disney and Turner for their commitment to the NBA and its fans."

"This is a significant deal for our company and we are pleased to continue our long-standing partnership with the NBA, its fans, owners and players," said Levy. "The agreement locks in some of the most valuable, original, premium live sports programming that we'll continue to monetise across TNT and all other platforms within our extensive portfolio and will help further grow our businesses into the next decade."

"The NBA has never been more popular globally and it continues to grow under Adam's leadership," said Skipper. "By acquiring significantly more NBA content on both existing and yet-to-be created platforms, we will establish a vibrant year-round relationship with the NBA and bolster what is already the sports industry's most impressive and impactful collection of media rights."

Under the agreements, the partners will televise more national regular-season games (ABC/ESPN: 100; Turner: 64) and will continue to do so generally on Wednesdays (ESPN), Thursdays (TNT), Fridays (ESPN), and Sundays (ABC/ESPN). By the end of these new agreements, the NBA's partnership will reach 41 years with Turner, while the league's relationship with ABC/ESPN will extend to 23 years. Additionally, NBA TV's Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Saturday game telecasts will continue to fill out the schedule, ensuring a full week of nationally televised games. The NBA's 24-hour network will present over 100 regular-season games each year.

The NBA release says further that the NBA and Turner will also continue their groundbreaking partnership to manage jointly the NBA's digital assets including NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA Mobile, NBA LEAGUE PASS, and WNBA.com, which Turner operates out of its Atlanta production facility. TNT will also debut the first-ever NBA Awards Show, an annual event which will air at the end of the season, and will have expanded activation opportunities surrounding key NBA pillars such as Opening Night and NBA All-Star Week.

Under the agreement, ESPN will be granted enhanced digital rights to provide NBA content for multiple ESPN platforms, including ESPN.com and WatchESPN.

The parties have also established a framework for ESPN and the NBA to negotiate the launch of a new over-the-top offering in which the league would receive an equity interest. Details for the new offering will be announced at a future date.

Under a new deal with the WNBA, games will continue to be televised on ABC and ESPN/ESPN2 through the 2025 season. ESPN also will have enhanced in-progress highlight rights for the WNBA on digital and linear platforms.

Beginning with the 2016-17 season, for the first time, at least 20 NBA Development League games and NBA Summer League games will be seen on the ESPN television networks.

Turner Sports will have enhanced content/digital rights to NBA content for multiple TNT platforms including Bleacher Report; interactive online elements such as selected camera angles, statistic feeds and video to complement TNT's telecasts; and broadband and other content for digital platforms, including highlights and studio shows. This includes the opportunity to develop and distribute new NBA content and programming for Bleacher Report, as well as rights to highlights for incorporation into the brand's popular team and topic-centric Team Stream Now video offerings.

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