NBA Targets Doubling of TV Rights Fees in Talks With Disney, Time Warner Units (Report)
The National Basketball Association is targeting to double the TV rights fees it gets from Walt Disney's ESPN/ABC and Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting unit under its current deals that run through the 2015-2016 season, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The paper said the companies are in preliminary talks about extending the current deals that see Disney paying around $485 million annually and Turner $445 million per year.
Doubling the fees would mean the deals would be worth nearly $15 billion over eight years, the term of the current agreements, according to the Journal.
Sports is considered a rare form of content that still draws big live TV audiences in an age of audience fragmentation and digital options, which has driven up the cost of sports rights.
But the rightsholders are expected to push for as small a fee increase as possible, and the length of new deals could also possibly change. Turner has been using the fact that it has NBA rights to get higher carriage fees from pay TV operators.
In a possible change from the current deals, Turner is pushing to get a piece of the best-of-seven NBA Finals, according to the Journal.
For example, the two rightsholders could alternate finals coverage from year to year or divide up coverage of each year's finals series.
The league can only negotiate a finals split if it fails to reach a new deal with Disney.