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Volume 22 No. 19
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New NBA media deals may be worth up to $2.5B yearly

When NBA owners are briefed on the status of the league’s media negotiations later this month, they can expect to hear of a coming windfall of media revenue that is at the high end of what they were expecting.

{podcast}

SBJ Podcast:
Media writer John Ourand, NBA reporter John Lombardo and Executive Editor Abraham Madkour discuss the NBA's massive new media rights agreement announced on Oct. 6.

Sources say that ESPN’s and Turner’s average annual payouts could climb as high as $2.5 billion over eight years. In that scenario, ESPN’s package would be worth $1.3 billion annually, and Turner’s would be worth $1.2 billion.

That figure more than doubles the league’s current media deals. The NBA’s eight-year television deals that end next June pay $930 million a year, with ESPN paying $485 million and Turner paying $445 million on average.

Originally, it was thought that the league would double that figure, but new numbers leaking out of the talks suggest the league is going to wind up with much more.

Sources said the amount ESPN and Turner have committed to pay for the NBA rights will keep Fox and NBC from picking up a third package, which had been rumored for some time.

NBA owners will gather for their board of governors meeting in New York Oct. 21 and 22, when they are expected to be briefed on negotiations, most likely by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Bill Koenig, NBA vice president of business affairs, who are leading the negotiating for the league.

ESPN President John Skipper and Turner Broadcasting System President David Levy are leading the talks for their networks.

Sources say that the NBA’s talks with ESPN and Turner have remained on track over the past month. Insiders say the new deals could be completed in the next few weeks.

TV viewers will not notice many changes to the new deals. ABC will continue to carry the NBA Finals exclusively, and TNT will keep its exclusive Thursday night window and All-Star Game rights.

On the digital side, Turner will continue to manage NBA.com, NBA TV and NBA League Pass.