NBA Nearing 11-Year Deal With ESPN, Amazon and NBC

The NBA is about to reach a deal with its next media rights partners and it feels like all that’s left is to sign the paperwork.Adam Silver, NBA

Per Joe Flint of the Wall Street Journal, the league is closing in on an 11-year, $76 billion deal with ESPN/ABC, NBC and Amazon

This breaks down as follows, per Flint: ESPN/ABC will pay $2.6 billion annually; NBC will pay $2.5 billion annually; and Amazon will pay $1.8 billion annually.

All of this, of course, will leave TNT and its popular Inside the NBA studio show in the dust. And return games to NBC, which held league broadcasting rights from 1954 to 1962 and again from 1990 to 2002. (Yes, the popular Roundball Rock theme song should also be back.)

Anyway, next season stands to be the last for TNT and Inside.

But this is a banner deal for the NBA and it can’t base its future on one network or show, no matter how popular or how well-perceived. People will still remember the show for years to come, but just like any business, it’s about paying the bills. And the NBA always has plenty of huge bills.

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.”

No matter how you spin it, this will be considered a big win for NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and frankly, his biggest victory to date once the deal goes down.

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