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NBA finalizes TV contract with ESPN, NBC and Amazon, but TNT still in the game: Report

NBA finalizes TV contract with ESPN, NBC and Amazon, but TNT still in the game: Report
The NBA logo is seen outside an NBA fan store in New York on July 8, 2024. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Thee NBA’s media rights negotiations have been closely watched for the last few months because of TNT’s longtime partnership with the league is in danger of ending. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

The NBA is finalizing a long-term lucrative media rights deal that would include ESPN, NBC and Amazon Prime Video as TV partners, per Andrew Marchand of The Athletic. According to The Athletic, the contracts will stabilize TV rights to the league for the next 11 seasons, and will be worth $76 billion.

However, TNT Sports — a longtime host network of the NBA — could still threaten to match, per The Athletic. TNT’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, and its CEO David Zaslav have publicly pushed to stay involved with the NBA by using language in the current contract.

The NBA and the three media partners have reportedly agreed to all of the language in the contracts, but have not yet signed. If Zaslav chooses to keep TNT involved, he is likely to go after Amazon’s package, per The Athletic.

The deal will next move to the NBA board of governors, which has meetings next Tuesday in Las Vegas, for approval. Per The Athletic, the NBA will then send the finished contracts to TNT following board approval. At that point, TNT will have five days to choose whether to match the deal. If the company declines, the NBA is then expected to make an official announcement about the TV deal ahead of the Olympics at the end of the month.

According to The Athletic, the new deal will feature national broadcasts nearly every day of the week. The deal also includes plans during the NFL season, with NBA games on NBC immediately following Sunday Night Football and games on Amazon immediately following Thursday Night Football. ESPN will continue to broadcast the NBA Finals, as well as one conference final, per The Athletic.

The three media partners began finalizing the deal with the league in May. Reports of that deal also broke the news that TNT Sports, which has covered NBA games for more than two decades, might be without any of those rights after next season.

Mourned more than the loss of the league on the network would be the loss of “Inside the NBA,” TNT’s wildly popular NBA studio show, with one of the show’s hosts, Charles Barkley, calling TNT executives “clowns” for bungling the deal. Barkley has since said that he will retire from broadcasting after the 2024-25 season.

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