The NBA has extended their TV rights with ESPN and TNT for the next nine years. Beginning with the 2016-17 NBA season, viewer coverage on ESPN will be increased in television, digital, highlights, data, audio, and international NBA. John Skipper, ESPN president, and Adam Silver, NBA commissioner, made the announcement on Monday.
"With these new agreements our passionate fans will continue to benefit from the exceptional coverage provided by [our partners," Silver stated. Skipper said, "The NBA has never been more popular and it continues to grow under Adam's leadership." They went on to say, "By acquiring significantly more NBA content for both existing and yet-to-be created platforms, we will establish a vibrant, year-round NBA presence for fans. For ESPN, this agreement continues our fruitful, longstanding relationship with the NBA and bolsters what is already the sports industry's most impressive and impactful collection of media rights."
$2.66 billion per year is the estimated worth of the deal according to The New York Times, leading to an increase in team salary caps.
NBA Finals coverage will still be exclusively in the hands of ABC, with postseason games' combined coverage through both ABC and ESPN. Turner Sports is thrown into the deal as well with an addition of 12 games during the regular-season and other multimedia rights. This deal is complimented with an extension into WNBA coverage, as well.
As for the union's thoughts on the deal, union executive director Michelle Roberts stated, "The new television and media deals are good news for all of the stakeholders in the business of the NBA." Roberts added, "Although we have seen strong revenue growth and significant increases in franchise values over the past three years, it is clear that the league is now entering a period of unprecedented revenue growth. Our job will be to ensure that the players receive their fair share of the results of their efforts and that we do everything possible to maintain the growth and popularity of the game."
The new deal is meant to increase the NBA's mobile platform, stream more regular-season games, increase team appearances, and generally expand on coverage for the fan's benefit.