NBA reportedly close to US$76bn deal with NBC, ESPN, Amazon

The US NBA is close to signing a major media rights deal with Comcast-owned NBCUniversal, Disney’s ESPN and Amazon worth about US$76 billion over 11 years, according to a report in the Wall Street journal. 

The biggest payer, Disney, is expected to pay about US$2.6 billion a deal and Disney-owned ESPN will air the NBA Finals but will have fewer games overall than it has under its current US$1.5 billion a year deal, according to the report.

According to the WSJ, NBC will pay about US$2.5 billion a year to air about 100 basketball games per season, with about half of those being made available via streaming service Peacock.

Amazon would meanwhile pay about US$1.8 million annually for a package of regular season and playoff games.

Conference finals will be split between the media partners, according to the report.

The big loser from the rights awards will be Warner Bros. Discovery, with the loss of its flagship show Inside the NBA.

According to the WSJ, Warner Bros. Discovery still has the option of matching rival bids, or the NBA could create a new offering for it.

Heavily indebted WBD currently pays around US$1.2 billion a year for its share of NBA games.

With Disney/ESPN paying more apparently for less, the big winner is NBCUniversal, but the cost of acquiring the rights could weigh heavily on its content budget in other areas.

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