NBA Closing In On TV Everywhere Deals With Fox Sports Media Group, NBC Sports Group
The NBA is "poised to become the first major U.S.-based sports league to allow its games to be streamed live locally," as league officials are "finalizing TV Everywhere deals" with Fox and NBC, according to Ourand & Lombardo of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Other RSNs, such as Root Sports, MSG, Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Altitude, are "expected to offer live in-market streaming later this season." The deals will "allow people who subscribe to a distributor that carries Fox Sports Net or Comcast SportsNet to log in and watch their local teams’ games via broadband or mobile." Fox has deals with 16 NBA teams; Comcast has deals with eight. The streaming deals run through the '15-16 season, "ending at the same time as the NBA’s linear TV deals." The deals came about because the NBA "relaxed demands to charge RSNs a per-game fee for rights to stream the games" and because it recently "dropped its demand for a per-game fee -- to zero." Fox will "make its games available to distributors with whom it has cut TV Everywhere deals, including Comcast, AT&T U-verse and Suddenlink, via its Fox Sports Go video player." Games "will not be housed on team sites or league sites, a key factor in getting the RSNs to agree to a deal." Team sites "will be able to promote and link to the games," and those links "will take users to the RSN’s page or the Fox Sports Go app, where the viewers will be authenticated as current cable subscribers and will be able to watch the games at no extra cost." Fox Sports Regional Networks Exec VP Jeff Kroli said, "We are at a point where fans expect to watch their games wherever they want on whatever device they want. We're working hard with our teams and distribution partners to meet that expectation" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/21 issue).