Streaming in the Mix for New Mega Billion Dollar NBA TV Rights Deals

NBCUniversal is reportedly looking to pay $2.5 billion a year for a share of the National Basketball Association’s new television rights deal beginning for the 2025-26 season. The offer, which is more than twice what Warner Bros. Discovery currently pays the NBA annually broadcasting games on TNT (and the Max platform), would include streaming games on the Peacock platform. NBC last broadcast NBA games in 2002.

For the NBA, which is looking to expand its digital footprint nationwide and internationally across a variety of media distribution partners, streaming video is a key component in the negotiations that will split rights among three or more license packages.

Disney’s ESPN/ABC brands are expected to pay about $2.6 billion a year for its NBA rights, which would include the ESPN+ streaming platform, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited sources familiar with the aforementioned rights talks. ESPN currently pays the NBA about $1.5 billion annually.

Perhaps trumping all of those deals is a pending agreement between the NBA and Amazon, which reportedly would see games exclusively streamed on Prime Video globally over the next decade similar to the streamer’s NFL pact for “Thursday Night Football.” If the deal comes to fruition, it would mark the first time NBA games are exclusively distributed on a streaming service.

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“The NBA has made it clear that it wanted to define itself for the next frontier of viewing with streaming at the forefront,” wrote The Atlantic.

NCAA’s Pac-12 Conference Implodes After Schools Reject Apple Streaming Deal

The future of the 64-year-old Pac-12 Conference, a once dominant NCAA Division I level athletic conference comprising 24 sports, spearheaded by football and basketball, appears doomed after college athletic directors from the 12 schools in the western U.S. reportedly rejected a last-minute streaming video deal with Apple.

The deal, similar to Apple’s exclusive 10-year, $2.5 billion agreement with Major League Soccer, would have been outside the confines of Apple TV+ as a separate standalone streaming package. The financial terms reportedly would have been lower than the Pac-12’s current 12-year, $3 billion rights package with Fox Sports and ESPN, which expires in 2024.

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In an age of escalating live sports TV and streaming rights across the entire sports landscape, in college sports the Power 5 athletic conferences, which include the Big Ten in the Midwest, Southeastern Conference (SEC), Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Pac-12, and Big 12, have become embroiled in a tug-of-war between schools, players and media companies seeking to grab a greater fiscal share of the multi-billion dollar TV pie.

The Big Ten recently inked a new seven-year media rights agreement with Fox Sports, CBS Sports and NBC Sports for $7 billion that includes both linear TV and live streaming on Paramount+ and Peacock. The Big 12 signed a separate six-year TV deal with Fox Sports and ESPN worth $2.3 billion, which includes streaming on ESPN+.

ESPN (and ESPN+) and the SEC begin a new 10-year media rights deal in 2024 covering about 15 football and eight men’s basketball games annually.

The Pac-12’s University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and University of Southern California (USC) were the first to jump ship, announcing in 2022 that they would be departing to the Midwest-based Big 10 in 2024. That was followed by Oklahoma and Texas announced exit from the Big 12 to the SEC.

Late last week, the Pac-12’s University of Oregon and University of Washington announced their intentions of also moving to the Big 10, while Arizona State University, University of Arizona,  University of Colorado and University of Utah said they would be joining the Big 12.

That leaves Stanford, Washington State University, University of California at Berkeley, and Oregon State University as the remaining Pac-12 schools eyeing a significantly depleted conference in 2024.