With $24 billion reportedly on the line, the NBA struck an accord with ESPN and Turner Sports that will boost the number of games on TV through the 2024-25 season. The new nine-year agreements kick in beginning with the 2016-17 season and will see the broadcast partners showcase more national regular-season games, with 100 on ABC/ESPN and 64 on Turner. Games will often be slated for Wednesdays (ESPN), Thursdays (TNT), Fridays (ESPN), and Sundays (ABC/ESPN). In addition, NBA TV will offer telecasts on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Saturday with over 100 games a year.
On the digital front, the league and Turner will continue their alliance to jointly manage the NBA’s digital assets including NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA Mobile, NBA LEAGUE PASS, and WNBA.com. Meanwhile, ESPN receives enhanced digital rights to provide NBA content for multiple ESPN platforms, including ESPN.com and WatchESPN. In addition, the parties have also established a framework for ESPN and the NBA to negotiate the launch of a new over-the-top offering in which the league would receive an equity interest.
TNT will debut the first-ever NBA Awards Show, an annual event slated to air at the end of the season. They will also receive expanded activation opportunities surrounding NBA pillars such as Opening Night and NBA All-Star Week.
ESPN locked in a new deal with the WNBA, with games continuing to be carried on ABC and ESPN/ESPN2 through the 2025 season. ESPN also will have enhanced in-progress highlight rights for the WNBA on digital and linear platforms.
Starting with the 2016-17 season, for the first time, at least 20 NBA Development League games and NBA Summer League games will be seen on the ESPN television networks.
Turner Sports gets content/digital rights to NBA content for multiple TNT platforms including Bleacher Report; interactive online elements such as selected camera angles, statistic feeds and video to complement TNT’s telecasts; and broadband and other content for digital platforms.
ESPN Audio reached a nine-year, multiplatform agreement to broaden ESPN Audio’s exclusivity and including additional rights and opportunities. While increasing its English-language distribution rights, ESPN Audio will become the exclusive Spanish-language national rights holder through ESPN Deportes Radio on terrestrial radio, satellite and all forms of radio devices including digital and third party platforms.
“The Walt Disney Company and Turner Broadcasting share responsibility for the growing popularity and interest the NBA enjoys, and we are thrilled to extend our partnerships,” said Silver. “With these new agreements, our fans will continue to benefit from the outstanding NBA coverage and programming provided by ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV and their digital platforms.”