NBA extends television deals with ESPN and TNT

NBA extends television deals with ESPN and TNT for 9 years through 2024-25



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Comparing NFL, NBA TV deals

The NBA made news this week by agreeing to a whopping $2.7 billion television contract with Turner Sports and ESPN. According to Sports Business Daily, the amount that ESPN is slated to pay to the NBA under this new deal is $1.4 billion per year.  These figures are too ridiculous for the average person to conceptualize. And finding a comparison may be hard to do, especially considering just how much money the sports industry now brings in on an annual basis. But this chart by Business Insider gives us an idea of how much ESPN is paying for the rights to cover the NBA compared to other sports. And in reality, it’s mind-boggling. While it’s important to note that ESPN airs a total of 19 NFL games (postseason and Pro Bowl included) compared to 90-plus MLB games, these numbers just go to show how much more relevant the NFL is compared to the three other major leagues in the United States. While the NBA relies on stars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, the NFL can get away with throwing out a less-than-ste

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NBA Announces New Media Deals with Turner, ESPN Through 2024-25 Season

There is power in stability. As expected, the NBA announced massive nine-year extensions with longtime partners ESPN and Turner Sports that will keep the Association on the networks through the 2024-25 season.

David Levy, President of Turner Broadcasting Systems, released a statement on the extension:

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. The agreement locks in some of the most valuable, original, premium live sports programming that we’ll continue to monetize across TNT and all other platforms within our extensive portfolio and will help further grow our businesses into the next decade.

Terms of the agreement were not publicly made available. Richard Sandomir of The New York Times reported Sunday that the total value of the respective contracts is $24 billion—nearly three times the annual value of the previous contract:

Under the previous agreement, which runs through the 2015-16 season, ESPN paid the NBA $485 million, while Turner has paid $445 million. There is no word whether it will be a 50-50 split or ESPN will continue to pay a higher fee going forward.

The NBA Finals will continue to be broadcast on ABC. Turner maintains its management of the NBA Digital umbrella. In addition to keeping their previous rights, Turner and ESPN have also expanded their freedoms in the live streaming realm. 

Ben Cohen and Shalini Ramachandran of The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reported the NBA and ESPN struck a separate agreement for a streaming service for live games. The current plan is for fans to not require a cable service provider to watch the games:

The league also laid plans in partnership with ESPN for a new online video service that would show live regular season games, the people said. In a significant move for ESPN, which derives its huge profits from the pay-TV ecosystem, that service will be open to people who aren’t cable or satellite TV customers.

It’s unclear whether the new service will have any effect on NBA League Pass or require a nominal fee. Currently the NBA offers all out-of-market games on League Pass through cable and satellite service providers.

While expansive, the new deal largely allows for a status quo—a boost in stability for both the networks and the NBA. ESPN and TNT have been the primary homes for nationally televised NBA games for more than a decade. TNT’s coverage of the league began in 1988 and includes the Emmy-winning Inside the NBA program. ESPN took over as a rights holder before the 2002-03 season and will debut a Grantland-themed NBA show this fall to go along with its NBA Countdown pregame show.

ESPN president John Skipper released a statement on the extension:

The NBA has never been more popular and it continues to grow under Adam [Silver]‘s leadership. By acquiring significantly more NBA content for both existing and yet-to-be created platforms, we will establish a vibrant, year-round NBA presence for fans. For ESPN, this agreement continues our fruitful, longstanding relationship with the NBA and bolsters what is already the sports industry’s most impressive and impactful collection of media rights.

Stability is important for the networks, as it also allows them to block out the competition. John Lombardo and John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal reported in September that ESPN in particular wanted to get an extension in place to prevent competition like Fox Sports and NBC Sports from gaining NBA rights. The NBA cannot talk to other networks until next year, but it is expected that this new deal will prevent a third rights package from being shopped.

The revenue uptick will also have a noticeable on-court impact, as the salary cap and player salaries may skyrocket in the coming years. The NBA’s salary structure is dependent on league-wide revenue—a pie that will exponentially grow under these new deals.

A rough estimate from Adam Reisinger of ESPN indicated the NBA’s salary cap may rise to $88 million in 2016-17 due to the TV deals alone. The salary cap for the 2014-15 season is $63.065 million. That potential leap would affect things ranging from maximum player salary to the league’s luxury tax and more. The new television deal, for instance, is part of the reason LeBron James signed a two-year deal in Cleveland rather than a full max.

Knowing the influx of cash was on the horizon, the NBA has already begun considering alternative moves to avoid one massive summer of freewheeling spending. Grantland’s Zach Lowe indicated the league is considering “smoothing” the cap process, though it would require the approval of the players association. As Lowe notes, players receive 50 percent of basketball-related income regardless of how the salary cap is structured.


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NBA extends television deals with ESPN and TNT (Yahoo Sports)

NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA has extended its television deals with ESPN and TNT for nine years.

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Suns sign Morris twins to 4-year deals (Yahoo Sports)

SACRAMENTO, CA - APRIL 16: Markieff Morris #11 and Marcus Morris #15 of the Phoenix Suns prior to the game against the Sacramento Kings on April16, 2014 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Suns have signed twin forwards Markieff and Marcus Morris to four-year contract extensions after both had career years in 2013-14.

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Beck/Bucher Debate: Which Players Will Live Up to Their Big-Money Deals?

There was no shortage of big-name free agents on the move this offseason, with the landscape of the NBA transformed by some big-money deals. Which teams will ultimately regret giving out such large contracts?

Find out which players Howard Beck and Ric Bucher believe will earn their money as they debate the topic in the video above. 

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NCAA head-injury deal’s backers press for court OK (Yahoo Sports)

FILE - In this Aug. 16, 2014, file photo, Arkansas guard Brey Cook (74) wears a Riddell SpeedFlex helmet during a preseason NCAA college football practice in Fayetteville, Ark. With lawsuits and concern regarding concussions hanging over every level of football, the race to develop safer helmets and other equipment has never been more intense. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson, File)

Attorneys pushing for a judge to give preliminary approval to a proposed $75 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA said Friday that claims it unfairly forces athletes affected by head injuries to forfeit hundreds of millions of dollars are untrue. In a court filing that’s part of what’s likely to be a long approval process about the deal, the attorneys countered opposition lodged last month on behalf of Anthony Nichols, who says he sustained concussions while an offensive lineman for San Diego State from 1989 to 1992. Nichols, who would be among tens of thousands of male and female athletes covered by the sweeping deal, has argued in court documents that the proposal’s benefits to athletes would be paltry compared to what the NCAA gains: legal protection from having to pay out what the filing argues could have been a billion dollars or more in damages. ”Nichols’ claim that hardly anyone will benefit from the program has no basis in fact.” Under the deal, the NCAA would create a $70 million fund to test thousands of current and former athletes for brain trauma and sets aside $5 million for research.

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Pistons announce deals with Martin, Gray (Yahoo Sports)

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Pistons have formally announced contract agreements with forward Cartier Martin and center Aaron Gray.

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NBA Free Agent Signings 2014: Tracking the Latest Deals and News

Let the NBA‘s offseason officially commence. Beginning at 12:01 a.m ET on Tuesday, teams and perspective free agent targets could officially begin negotiations on a series of contracts that could reshape the Association’s hierarchy.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony lead a group of players that ranks among the best free-agent classes in history—though there is speculation on how “free” a certain Big Three actually is. James, Wade and Bosh exercised their early termination options with the Heat over the past week, seemingly calculated moves to allow Pat Riley to retool the roster around them. Not to break up.

Still, as James proved the last time he hit the free agent waters, anything is possible. And even if the Miami threesome is planning a quick reunion, Anthony’s wide-open outlook on free agency promises to mirror James’ and Dwight Howard‘s that came before him.

The Knicks forward, having already made seven All-Star teams and been selected to six All-NBA teams, is ready for championship contention. With New York’s roster undergoing a complete retooling under Phil Jackson, Anthony will have to wait at least one more season before having a winner in the Big Apple. That has him courting offers from the likes of the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and a couple other suitors more equipped to win now.

Besides Anthony, Kyle Lowry, Lance Stephenson and Luol Deng highlight a second tier of free agents who could make an impact in new cities. Stephenson might be the most interesting, given his high talent level, young age (23) and proclivity for antics on and off the floor that frustrate teammates.

The restricted free agent pool is also unusually deep and not necessarily guaranteed to return to their current stomping grounds. Eric Bledsoe, Chandler Parsons, Greg Monroe, Isaiah Thomas and Gordon Hayward lead the pack, each possessing a dichotomy of potential and flaws that makes each player’s contract level something to watch.

With roughly half the league boating $10 million or more, the high-salaried offers are going to be flying off the shelves like an auction house. When folks call this the silly season, it’s about these next few days—a never-ending flurry of rumors, innuendo and negotiations that leave even the most strident NBA fan unable to keep up.

Be sure to check back here as we highlight every deal that goes down over the next few weeks and days. (Note: No contract signed is deemed official until July 10, the date the NBA’s moratorium on transactions ends.) 

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UK president deals blow to Rupp Arena renovations

Kentucky president Eli Capilouto sent a scalding letter to the head of the project.



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