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Volume 23 No. 29
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Potential new YES Network deal could double Nets’ rights fee

The Brooklyn Nets are closing in on a new local media rights deal with YES Network that is expected to at least double the team’s average annual fee.

The Nets used a contractual “reset” that occurs every five years to get YES Network’s majority owner Fox Sports to increase its rights fee to an annual average of around $40 million, starting with 2017-18 season, according to sources.

Fox Sports and Nets officials refused to comment.

In the new agreement, YES Network would continue to keep all linear TV and digital rights to the team’s games.

Related story:

Deal would extend NBA RSN trend

A formal deal still needs to be signed, but the two sides are close to finalizing details. The team has until December to finalize a deal to avoid arbitration. Fox Sports Regional Networks President Jeff Krolik and Nets Sports and Entertainment CEO Brett Yormark led the negotiations for each side.

The current pact was scheduled to run through the 2031-32 season. The new deal is shorter but still runs well into the next decade.

The Nets’ RSN negotiations this year marked a contrast from four years ago when the team still was in New Jersey. It was the last time the Nets negotiated their local rights deal and talks were much more acrimonious. The sides eventually signed a deal weeks before their dispute would have been heard by an arbitrator.

This year, the Nets renegotiated as their TV ratings cratered. The team’s ratings on YES Network were the lowest in the NBA this season, with the team posting a 38-44 record compared to the 2013-14 record of 44-38. The Nets’ 0.49 rating was down 37 percent from the previous year — the league’s third biggest drop-off.

Still, Nets games are important for YES Network, because they provide winter programming to supplement the RSN’s highly rated New York Yankees schedule.