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NBA, TV Networks May Be Near to Deal

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Sports Business Daily reports that the NBA and its television partners may be on the brink of a new deal for broadcast rights. Issues, terms, figures, and links here.

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SportsBusinessDaily.com has released an article on the impending deal between the NBA and its national television partners.

Sales of television rights to ESPN and Turner Sports currently bring in just under $1 billion in annual revenue for the NBA. That number is expected to double, and more, under the new agreement, rumors to run for 8+ years. Parameters of coverage are not expected to change:

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 league and networks have reached broad agreement on several points. ESPN will retain rights to the NBA Finals championship series, which will remain on ABC. Turner will keep its exclusive Thursday night franchise and NBA All-Star Game coverage.

Turner also will continue to manage the NBA's digital assets, which include NBA TV, NBA League Pass and NBA.com.

As befits the digital age, rights to live streaming remain a bone of contention with the league looking to retain control of that medium and the networks insisting it be included in the deal to further their mobile-device outreach and highlight capabilities.

Not discussed in SportsBusinessJournal's piece: implications of a new deal reach beyond lining the pockets of league owners. Salary cap figures and potential expansion hinge on the terms of these negotiations. Though the league's economy will eventually stabilize at the new, higher level, in the short term extra cap space would create a bubble during which teams could absorb trades and make attractive offers to free agents while most contracts reflected the lower, pre-deal figures. The league should also be more comfortable adding new franchises once the terms of the deal are settled and a buy-in price for prospective new owners can be rated accordingly.

You can read the entire article here. Discussion of the topic on SportsBusinessJournal's podcast can be found here.

Hat tip to Corvid for the tip-off Fanshot.

--Dave blazersub@gmail.com / @DaveDeckard