With Brazil eagerly anticipating seeing LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers take on his former team live and in living color, the NBA is doubling down on their newly minted recognition with a fresh business opportunity.
Announced Monday (Oct. 6), the National Basketball Association reached a new nine-year, $24 billion television and media rights deal with Turner Sports’ TNT and Disney’s ESPN companies, respectively. Worth nearly three times as much as the league’s current deal, which expires after the 2015-16 season, the average annual value is set to increase from $966 million to more than $2.6 billion.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver let media know that they had discussions, but not negotiations with Comcast and Fox concerning a deal. “The Walt Disney Company and Turner Broadcasting share responsibility for the growing popularity and interest the NBA enjoys,” Silver said. “With these new agreements, our fans will continue to benefit from the outstanding NBA coverage and programming provided by NBA TV, TNT, ESPN, ABC, and their digital platforms.”
This new agreement will add 10 additional regular season games for ABC or ESPN each season and the former network will continue to be the home of the NBA Finals. Turner Sports will add 12 live regular season games each of those nine years and will televise a 64-game regular season schedule. The league will also create a televised end-of-the-year awards show.
In addition to the NBA, the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) extended its agreement with ESPN through 2025 as part of the new rights deal. What does this means for the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and the future superstars of the NBA? According to the parameters of the new deal, the NBA’s salary cap—and by extension player salaries —will reach a new height when the two sit down to reach a new collective bargaining agreement.