Report: NBC ‘in driver’s seat’ for NBA TV package over TNT

May 9, 2024, 11:11 AM | Updated: 11:14 am

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 26: A Wilson brand official game ball basketball is pictured with the ...

(Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

(Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

According to a report published by the Sports Business Journal‘s Tom Friend, the NBA’s return to NBC is beginning to look like a certainty.

Friend reported on Thursday that NBCUniversal is “in the driver’s seat” in securing the third package of NBA games in a new TV deal that will also see ESPN/ABC and Amazon Prime Video broadcast games.

Warner Bros. Discovery, the parent company of TNT, is on the verge of losing its share of NBA games unless it one-ups NBC’s bid of $2.5 billion per season. Friend’s report indicates that if WBD doesn’t up its bid to $2.8 billion, NBC will gain the rights to broadcast NBA games for the first time since 2002.

Part of the NBA on NBC partnership would include Basketball Night in America, similar to the network’s Sunday night coverage of the NFL, Football Night in America.

Negotiations are ongoing, but it’s looking like the NBA’s three-decade run on TNT could come to a close following the 2024-25 season.

Sources continue to insist Comcast’s NBCUniversal will capture the third NBA package — and likely unveil a “Basketball Night in America’’ telecast — with its annual bid of $2.5B. Although details are still being massaged with nothing finalized, those sources believe there is little WBD CEO David Zaslav can do to overtake NBC unless he perhaps coughs up as much as $2.8B or more to overpay for the package. Or, according to the sources, unless he takes the league to court.

Sports Business Journal’s Tom Friend – May 9, 2024

Original Story from May 1, 2024

From the 1990s through the early 2000s, NBA Playoff basketball went hand-in-hand with the sound of John Tesh’s “Roundball Rock,” the theme song for NBC’s broadcasts–The NBA on NBC.

The NBA on NBC was the broadcast home of basketball during a transitional time for the game, as popularity was on the rise thanks to the Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson battles of the 1980s and the emergence of a young star named Michael Jordan.

From 1990 to 2002, NBC led the way in NBA coverage before losing the broadcast rights in 2003 to a package of outlets that included ABC, ESPN, and TNT.

Over 20 years later, “Roundball Rock” appears to be on the verge of making its official return to the National Basketball Association.

According to a report published by the Wall Street Journal, NBC is planning to pay $2.5 billion annually to broadcast a package of NBA games, doubling TNT’s parent company Warner Brother’s current annual pact of $1.2 billion.

Disney, which owns ESPN and ABC, the current home of the NBA Finals, is expected to retain its share of games, while new partner Amazon Prime Video is expected to secure a package of games that will include a share of the Conference Finals.

If NBC’s offer is accepted, basketball on TNT could end after the 2024-25 season.

Disney, the parent of ESPN and ABC, is the other major TV partner and is expected to pay an average per-year fee of about $2.6 billion to renew its deal, the people familiar with the situation said, up from about $1.5 billion a year.

Each TV partner would air fewer games under their new deals than under the current pacts. The league took some games away from its TV partners during this year’s rights negotiations to create a package for a streaming partner. Amazon’s Prime Video has already reached the outlines of a streaming rights deal with the NBA.

The league’s negotiations with its streaming and TV partners are fluid, and the parties are still haggling over who gets rights to air the most high-profile games and series. Amazon is likely to get a share of the Conference Finals alongside the other partners, and Disney’s ABC is on track to retain the rights to the NBA Finals, some of the people said.

The Wall Street Journal on the NBA’s TV negotiations – April 30, 2024

More on the NBA’s TV deal negotiations with NBC & TNT

Those who enjoy TNT’s award-winning show Inside the NBA with Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, and Kenny Smith fear not.

According to Hollywood insider Matt Belloni, the NBA on TNT crew would likely find a new home with one of the newest streaming partners or split time between outlets.

“So, my prediction is that Inside the NBA, the Turner studio show that everybody loves, that will not exclusively air on TNT after the 2024-25 season,” Belloni said on The Town podcast. “It’s either going to be on Amazon, or it’s going to be on TNT and another one of those outlets, Amazon or NBC.”

Could we be seeing Ernie, Shaq, and the guys paired with “Roundball Rock” in 2025? It looks as if things are shaping up that way, with TNT on the outside looking in.

When is the next NBA offseason date of interest?

For the first time in two years, the Sacramento Kings will be crossing its fingers for luck during the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery.

The 2024 NBA Draft Lottery will be held on Sunday, May 12, 2024, in Chicago, where Sacramento will have the 13th-best odds of securing the top pick.

How the Lottery works: The 14 teams that missed out on the NBA playoffs are eligible for the Draft Lottery. The final odds were determined after the regular season, and tie breaks were settled between teams with identical regular season records.

NBA Offseason Schedule

  • Sunday, May 12 – NBA Draft Lottery
  • Wednesday, June 26-Thursday, June 27th – 2024 NBA Draft
  • Sunday, June 30th – Free Agent negotiating window opens (3 PM PST)
  • Saturday, July 6th – Free Agents can officially sign contracts
  • July 12-22nd – Las Vegas Summer League
  • July 27-August 11th – 2024 Olympic Games
  • Friday, September 27th – NBA training camps begin

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