The NBA reportedly hopes to double money in next round of TV contracts


The main gate of entertainment giant Walt Disney Co. in Burbank, Calif. (Fred Prouser/Reuters)

The NBA knows its product is valuable. But is it valuable enough to the Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc. that they’d be willing to spend twice as much for the TV rights in its next contract? That’s what the NBA wants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Currently, Disney, which owns ABC and ESPN, is paying $485 million per year under its current contract that expires after the 2015-16 season. Turner, which owns TNT, meanwhile is paying $445 million per years. Sports Illustrated writes, “Doubling those figures means the NBA’s next TV contract could be worth around a total of $15 billion if the length of said contract remains eight years.”

Among other moves the NBA is considering, the strangest might be splitting the NBA Finals between two media groups. ABC presently has the full rights to the Finals, but Turner would be happy to capture a share. How this would exactly appeal to viewers is unclear, but it “could entail different networks splitting up Finals games each year or networks televising the Finals in alternating years,” Sports Illustrated reports.

If the NBA can’t reach a deal with Disney and Time Warner, the association may look elsewhere to cash in, especially in light of the current deal the NFL has reached regarding its TV rights. The football organization signed a nine-year, $27 billion deal in 2011 with Fox, NBC and CBS.

NBA owners are set to meet today, when they are scheduled to discuss the association’s TV rights plan.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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