Warner Bros. Discovery reportedly facing potential loss of NBA rights

Warner Bros. Discovery reportedly may be about to lose its grip on US NBA rights, according to a report by US trade Sports Business Journal.

According to the paper, citing industry sources, the NBA is in the process of drawing up contracts with Disney, Amazon and NBC, with Disney’s ESPN set to pay potentially up to US$2.8 billion a year for the basketball league’s A package, which includes the NBA finals as well as other games and a share of international rights.

NBC may pay between US$2.5 billion and US$2.6 billion for the B rights, while Amazon may pay US$1.8-2 billion for a third set of rights, according to Sports Business Journal.

The door was opened to NBC after WBD declined to double its offer for the B rights, something Disney/ESPN was apparently willing to do for its share of the rights.

According to the paper, the NBA may present the NBC bid to Warner Bros. Discovery, which currently holds the B rights, to see if it will match the offer in ‘total value’, something that is considered unlikely as WBD does not have NBC’s national broadcast network and is heavily in debt.

WBD may than potentially take legal action over the definition of ‘total value’ according to the report.

If that fails, WBD could lose the rights, leading to the demise of long-running TNT Sports flagship show Inside the NBA.

In a separate development, TNT Sports has secured rights to selected College Football Playoff (CFP) games in a sub-licensing deal with ESPN.

ESPN and TNT Sports have reached a five-year agreement for TNT Sports to sublicense select CFP games from ESPN, beginning with the upcoming college football season.

TNT Sports will present two first-round College Football Playoff games during the 2024 and 2025 seasons. In addition to the first-round games, TNT Sports will add two quarterfinal games each year –beginning with the 2026 season through the 2028 season. TNT will be the primary network televising the sublicensed CFP games, among additional TNT Sports distribution platforms.

ESPN will present all other College Football Playoff games on its networks including the annual CFP National Championship Game. ESPN will also continue to manage the sponsorship program for the presentation of the CFP.


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