Basketball Wiretap

WBD Considering Matching Amazon's NBA Media Rights Bid

May 24, 2024 1:58 PM

Warner Bros. Discovery is considering matching the media rights package the NBA has agreed upon with Amazon.

The league is close to signing agreements with Disney, NBCUniversal and Amazon for three different packages of games.

WBD has up to five days to match a competing bid for the games it currently licenses from the NBA.

Amazon has reportedly offered $1.8 billion a year for a slate of games, while NBCUniversal has offered about $2.5 billion per year.

Warner Bros. Discovery is interested in a more affordable package of games given its gross debt of about $42 billion. David Zaslav has told colleagues he believes NBCUniversal is overspending for the NBA.

Alex Sherman/CNBC


NBA Salary Cap Likely To Eclipse $200M By 28-29

May 22, 2024 2:57 PM

With the NBA set to begin new media rights deals at more than $7 billion per season in 25-26, the salary cap will increase significantly over the coming seasons.

However, the NBA and NBPA agreed to only increase the salary cap by 10 percent per season.

With a 10 percent increase per season, the salary cap will top $200 million beginning in the 28-29 season. The supermax that season at 35 percent of the cap will have a starting salary of $72 million and be worth $419 million over five seasons. The fifth-year salary on that supermax contract will be worth $95 million as the NBA approaches the point where some players earn nine figures per season by the 33-34 season.

Keith Smith/Spotrac

Tags: NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA CBA

WBD's David Zaslav Entered Negotiations With NBA Bargaining Harder Than ESPN

May 22, 2024 10:33 AM

TNT is on the verge of losing the NBA after the 24-25 season with Tom Friend of the Sports Business Journal reporting on how Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav mishandled negotiations with the league.

While ESPN was firm on wanting to retain the "A" package and not letting it go to the open market by doubling its old rights fees from $1.4 billion per season to $2.8 billion, Zaslav believed he would only have to pay between $1.8 billion and $2.1 billion to retain the "B" package and refused to double it to $2.4 billion.

WBD entered negotiations believing they could ultimately match any offer the NBA received for the package, but the league's contention is they cannot necessarily match it on a dollar-for-dollar basis. 

The NBA subsequently agreed to a $2.6 billion deal with NBC that virtually make it impossible for TNT to equal.

WBD is believed to be preparing to sue the NBA over the issue. 

Tom Friend/Sports Business Journal


NBA Finalizing $7B+ Per Season Media Rights Contracts With ESPN, NBC, Amazon This Week

May 22, 2024 10:08 AM

The NBA is formalizing media rights contracts with ESPN, NBC and Amazon this week with sources telling the Sports Business Journal that it is the final stage of negotiations. Deals with the three providers are expected to return over $7 billion per year for the NBA.

ESPN will pay $2.8 billion annually, which is up from an initially reported $2.6 billion for the NBA's "A" package. That package includes the NBA Finals, a conference final, weekly primetime games, the WNBA and likely shared international rights.

NBC's "B" package is believed to be worth $2.6 billion annually would probably include a "Basketball Night in America" on Sunday nights following the NFL season, a total of two primetime windows a week, conference semifinals and a conference final. 

Amazon's deal is believed to be worth between $1.8B and $2B and would likely include the Emirates In-Season Tournament, the SoFi Play-In Tournament, first-round playoff games, the WNBA and international rights.

The final changes to the deals have been fluid and changing, but expected to be finalized in the coming days or week. Once the written bids are ratified, the NBA will take NBC's contract to Warner Bros. Discovery to see if they can match it in "total value."

WBD may enact legal action over the rights. It's believed that the TNT parent company could contest its right to match the NBC deal. The NBA and WBD apparently have different definitions of what matching a deal would consist of.

Tom Friend/Sports Business Journal

Tags: NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA CBA

NBA Has More Confidence In NBC's Financial Solvency As Talks With TNT Continue

May 18, 2024 8:12 AM

Warner Bros. Discovery continues to have discussions with the NBA about retaining is media rights deal amid a competing offer from NBC worth $2.5 billion per year. While the NBA could renew with TNT as the incumbent, that is considered unlikely.

The NBA will likely sign papers with NBC and hat would trigger a contractual option for WBD to match. Both the NBA and WBD have reviewed legal language to determine whether a match right is legally in place. The language is believed to be vague where it is unclear if the NBA could walk away. The two sides could be headed toward a lawsuit.

WBD has a market valuation of about $20 billion and an enterprise value of about $60 billion, including $43.2 billion of gross debt, as of the end of the company’s fiscal first quarter. The NBA is more comfortable NBC can pay what would amount to more than double the previous price for the package. WBD had been paying $1.2 billion per year.

The NBA's new media rights deals with ESPN/ABC, Amazon and either NBC or TNT will triple from $24 billion over nine seasons to $76 billion or more over 11 seasons.

Alex Sherman/CNBC


David Zaslav: WBD Still In 'Active Negotiations' On Media Right Deal To Keep NBA On TNT

May 9, 2024 4:18 PM

While NBC is reportedly close to moving forward with the NBA on a $2.5 billion per season media rights deal, TNT continues to be in talks with the league.

“We’ve enjoyed a strong partnership with the NBA for almost four decades. We’re in continuing conversations with them now, and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to reach an agreement that makes sense for both sides,” Warner Bros. Discovery CEO Zaslav said on Thursday's earnings call.

“We’ve had a lot of time to prepare for this negotiation, and we have strategies in place for the various potential outcomes. However, now is not the time to discuss any of this. Since we are in active negotiations with the league and under our current deal with the NBA, we have matching rights that allow us to match third-party offers before the NBA enters into an agreement with them.”

The NBA also has a deal on the table with Amazon worth $1.8 billion per season, which TNT could also potentially match. 

ESPN and the NBA have agreed to a $2.6 billion per season deal.

Ryan Glasspiegel/New York Post


NBC Closing In On NBA Package At $2.5B Per Year Unless TNT Increases Offer To $2.8B

May 9, 2024 10:58 AM

Comcast’s NBCUniversal is closing in on securing the third NBA package and likely unveil a “Basketball Night in America" telecast with its annual bid of $2.5 billion per year, sources tell Sports Business Journal.

Sources say Warner Bros. Discovery, parent company of TNT, would have to increase its bid to as much as $2.8 billion per season to retain rights unless they attempt to settle the matter with litigation.

WBD exited its exclusive negotiating window with the NBA with the expectation they could match any bid from a rival company on a dollar-for-dollar basis. 

Sources reiterated Wednesday that the NBA believes a dollar-for-dollar match is not enough because NBC is an over-the-air network with multiple broadcast windows and an RSN infrastructure that WBD cannot replicate.

“NBC has made their bid, and they're not budging,’’ a media industry source said. “So it's over, right? And Warner Bros. is saying, ‘We'll match it,’ and (Commissioner Adam Silver) is probably saying: ‘It's not matched.’ ’’

Sources say Adam Silver is trying to figure out a way to sever the relationship with TNT in a "gentle way."

“There's no mystery to this," the source said. “It's pretty blatant what's happening. David Zaslav realizes he has to have this and doesn't want to pay more than $2.5B. And Adam's saying, honestly, it's not matched at $2.5. And [Zaslav] goes, ‘Yes, it is,’ and they're going back and forth.’ And so that's where we are. How do you let [WBD] down? Is there a way? Or does Zaslav come up with more money? Because then it doesn't have to be matching because David's paid more.

“And that's where we are. Adam's trying to be nice to David right now until David backs off his dogs. He’s trying to help David save face.’’

NBC’s package is expected to include Sunday Night games following the NFL season, while perhaps taking over ESPN’s Friday night slate and TNT’s second-round playoff and conference final package. Amazon would likely have one weekday night (Tuesday or Thursday) and Saturday nights, as well as the Play-in tournament, the In-Season Tournament, first-round playoff games and likely some international rights. 

ESPN will continue to be the exclusive home of The Finals.

“ESPN did not want to alternate the finals, which I think Adam wanted to do,’’ a source said. “Adam wanted to make a package for NBC and alternate the finals with ESPN. ESPN fought it, fought, fought it, and finally said fine, ‘We'll pay the $2.6B, but no alternating the finals.’ And WB thought the league would never get that [$2.5] price from NBC. They said, ‘Sure, go shopping.’ They shopped it, they got the price. And now David Zaslav goes, ‘We’re screwed.’’’

Tom Friend/SportsBusinessJournal


NBA Close To WNBA Media Rights Deals With ESPN, Amazon

May 8, 2024 2:55 PM

The NBA is nearing agreement with ESPN and Amazon on media rights deals for the WNBA.

The league has reportedly prioritized including the WNBA media rights as part of its next NBA deals. The NBA is also potentially maximizing the timing for the value of the WNBA as Caitlin Clark enters the league.

Details on the number of games in the regular season and playoffs that will be broadcast by both companies are still being determined. 

Randall Williams/Bloomberg


NBA's Next Media Rights Deals Closing In On $7 Billion Per Season

May 8, 2024 12:20 PM

The NBA's new media rights deals could surpass $7 billion per season, which would represent an increase of nearly 170 percent from its current $2.6 billion per deals with ESPN and TNT. According to reported figures, the combined rights fees from ESPN, Amazon and NBC (or TNT) are at $6.9 billion per season.

Amazon will pay approximately $1.8 billion per season, according to Andrew Marchand of The Athletic. The deal will include the Conference Finals every other year as they will alternate with whoever wins the third rights between NBC and TNT. It also will include the NBA Cup and In-Season Tournament. 

TNT can match NBC's offer of $2.5 billion per season and talks are ongoing.

ESPN's deal with the NBA, which includes the Finals and Conference Finals on an annual basis, will cost $2.6 billion per year.

A report in 2021 indicated that the NBA was seeking anywhere between $7 billion and $8 billion per year on its next deal. After a 2023 report cooled those expectations with a doubling of the current deal a more probable target, the NBA appears to be close to reaching its goal.

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA CBA

TNT Remains In 'Constructive Negotiations' With NBA On Media Rights Deal

May 7, 2024 5:15 PM

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav confirmed that talks with the NBA to keep games on TNT are ongoing. NBC has offered the NBA $2.5 billion per season to essentially replace TNT as the league's other primary partner alongside ESPN. Amazon will likely enter as a partner for the NBA and broadcast both the NBA Cup and Play-In Tournament.

“We continue to be in constructive negotiations with the NBA,” Zaslav said Monday at the Milken Institute Global Conference in California. “It’s a great league. The TNT team does a terrific job. And we love the NBA.”

WBD maintains matching rights with the NBA as one of their existing partners.

WBD’s stock has lost nearly one-third of its value so far this year, with a drop of nearly 10 percent last week driven in part by reports the network could lose the NBA rights. 

During an interview in November 2022, Zaslav said “We don’t have to have the NBA.”

Eric Fisher/FrontOfficeSports