In this week's edition of Sports Business Journal, John Ourand and John Lombardo report that the NBA wants to begin talks this summer with its two TV partners, ESPN and Turner Sports about new deals. Now the two deals with the incumbents expire after the 2015-16 season, but the NBA wants to strike while the iron is still hot. Knowing that Major League Baseball, the NFL and most of the major BCS college conferences saw huge rights deals over the last few years, the NBA wants to join in before the rights bubble bursts.
In addition, with an increased field of national cable sports networks, the NBA knows there will be more interested parties in its games than when the last TV contract was signed in 2007. ESPN has been with the NBA since 2002 and Turner's partnership dates back to the mid-1980's when the NBA was originally on TBS.
With the talks beginning this summer, the NBA hopes to have a new contract in place by the time current NBA Commissioner David Stern transitions to new Head Honcho Adam Silver next summer.
Like the NFL, the NBA saw record ratings in 2011-12, but a slight decrease in the 2012-13 season. That will not temper the enthusiasm of the bids for the NBA. As he leaves, Stern is hoping to at least double the $930 million in rights fees the league receives from ESPN and Turner. And you know neither company will allow one of their signature sports properties go without a fight.
So with that, let's handicap the new rights deal and see where the chips may fall.no comments