TNT Sports Chairman On NBA Media Talks: ‘We Look Forward to Another Season’

The NBA media rights talks are coming along glowingly. In fact, they seem to resemble contract negotiations between a player and team, with rumors and sources and insiders trying to get the scoop first.Adam Silver, NBA

Well, it’s taken another turn, it seems.

For the unaware, the NBA is in the midst of talks with Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns TNT, as well as NBC Sports and Amazon Prime, on broadcast and streaming rights. TNT has been a partner for more than a decade, but there’s been talk it will be outbid and lose its rights to NBC. (Amazon seems to be in, as of course, will be Disney-owned ESPN/ABC).

So the lone battle is between TNT and NBC — though some have suggested the NBA could divide the pie four ways, so that everyone willing to fork over loads of cash can at least have a small slice. And perhaps that’s the way it should be.

Anyway, despite all the chatter that TNT is history, TNT Sports chairman Luis Silberwasser sounds confident.

“We look forward to another season and reaching an agreement with all the parties,” he said, via Jeff Agrest of the Chicago Sun-Times.

What that means, exactly, is hard to decipher. Is TNT planning to outbid NBC? Or is TNT just signing on to join ESPN, Amazon, and NBC as the fourth partner? Or does it mean something else entirely?

Either way, the league and its broadcast partners otherwise have remained quiet on the talks. So that leads to a lot of speculation — and for now, that’s all we really have.

But fans’ ability to consume the product has always been of great significance to Adam Silver, and getting a multi-billion-dollar media rights deal is of utmost importance to team owners. It appears that all parties will indeed be satisfied here soon.

“Amazon will pay approximately $1.8 billion per season, according to Andrew Marchand of The Athletic,” wrote RealGM. “The deal will include the Conference Finals every other year as they will alternate with whoever wins the third rights between NBC and TNT. It also will include the NBA Cup and In-Season Tournament. 

“TNT can match NBC’s offer of $2.5 billion per season and talks are ongoing.”

ESPN’s deal with the NBA, meanwhile, reportedly will cost $2.6 billion per year.

Interestingly, NBA TV ratings aren’t as high as they used to be — far from it. But sports rights are highly profitable for networks, typically bringing in loads of advertising.

As one TV insider told Hoops Wire: “The networks and streaming services aren’t as concerned with eyeballs as they are with advertisers, and (advertisers) really just want to be part of the game and feel like they’re part of what of the cool kids are doing. They’re spending money and lots of it just to be considered cool. The actual ratings are very overrated in today’s world. They have money to burn. They don’t care about that.”

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