By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
August 30, 2013
The NBA can expect a sizable revenue increase in its next national TV rights contract after its current deals expire in 2016. With FS1 expected to make a play for the rights when they become available, ESPN President John Skipper said his network would be “aggressive” in remaining one of the NBA’s broadcast partners. An ESPN/FS1 bidding war couldn’t come at a better time for the NBA. With most live sports rights locked up for the better part of the next decade, the NBA is one of the only premier properties coming to market. It’s current deals with ESPN and Turner total $930 million annually.
NBA rights are important for programming, ad revenue, and justification for growing subscriber fees. ESPN and its broadcast network, ABC, aired 92 games on national TV last year, averaging 2.2 million viewers per telecast.