Is TNT Preparing to Move Away from NBA?

Following the departure of Turner Sports president Larry Daniels after 27 years on the job, there are some within the industry that seem to think TNT may be preparing to move away from broadcasting NBA games.NBA on TNT

Not so fast, says John Ourand of Sports Business Journal.

“The first look at this is like, ‘Oh my goodness, (TNT) is out of the NBA,'” Ourand said on the Ourand and Marchand Sports Media Podcast. “Lenny Daniels, 27 years, he has deep relationships through the NBA. … This appears to be another sign that Warner Bros. Discovery is preparing people to move away from the NBA.

“(But) I don’t believe that is true at all.”

Instead, Warner Bros. Discovery is “gonna go very, very hard” to try to renew its contract with the league, Ourand said. The NBA’s broadcasting and media rights contracts with TNT and ESPN/ABC expire after the 2024-25 season.

With the league off to a hot start ratings-wise, it may have rebounded from a tough few years during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

If things continue down their current path, there should be no shortage of money thrown the NBA’s way from potential media rights partners. So Turner Sports will likely have plenty of competition.

“I would say that all of the leading technology companies are interested in the NBA. Amazon is just one of them. I think Apple, I think Google. All of them,” former NBA and ESPN executive John Kosner said, via Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports.

Kosner currently heads Kosner Media as a media adviser.

“And keep in mind the definition of what’s a ‘rights package’ going forward doesn’t have to be what we grew up with,” he said, via McCarthy. “A company like Discord (a social platform with 150 million monthly users) could become an NBA rights holder at some point, too. I think they’re all interested.”

TNT is not only home to weekly doubleheaders, which take place Tuesdays during the NFL season, but also the award-winning pre- and postgame show, “Inside the NBA,” featuring host Ernie Johnson and popular analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

All three received long-term contract extensions back in October, the network announced and we revealed here.

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