NBA Reportedly Finalizing Broadcast Deals With NBC, Disney, and Amazon, Throwing Future of 'Inside the NBA' Into Question

Once the deal goes through, the 2024-25 NBA season will be the final time TNT gets to broadcast games.

(Photo by Nic Antaya / Getty Images)

The NBA is currently putting together written contracts for its media rights with DisneyNBC, and Amazon, and Warner Bros, Sports Business Journal reports.

Per the report, the contracts will see the three companies cough up a hefty dollar amount to obtain the league's media rights. Industry insiders say ESPN will pay $2.5 billion a year to acquire the NBA Finals, a conference final, weekly primetime games, the WNBA, and likely shared international rights. 

NBC will pay $2.6 billion annually for a "B" package that may include a "Basketball Night in America" on Sunday evenings following the conclusion of the NFL season, two primetime windows a week, conference semifinals, and a conference final. Lastly, Amazon will pay between $1.8 billion and $2 billion and would acquire the league's In-Season and Play-In Tournament, first-round playoff games, and a joint effort with ESPN regarding the WNBA and international rights.

The final contracts are expected to be completed in the next few days, and all three networks will bring their respective deals to their board of directors for ratification. After that, the league will bring NBC's contract to Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) to see if it can match the total value of the deal.

According to sources, WBD is $40 billion in debt and will need to pay more than $2.6 billion to match the NBC deal. However, NBC's deal may change and include over-the-air weekly games on TV, making it difficult for WBD to match the deal. If that happens, sources say WBD CEO David Zaslav has three options: lose the NBA's media rights, pay the high price for the "B" package, or take legal action against the NBA to define what a game is. 

The NBA is ready for the latter, as sources have also stated that the league is preparing its lawyers for a possible inquisition or lawsuit regarding the deals. This latest news on negotiations has shed some light on how WBD found itself in this predicament. 

Sources stated that when negotiations initially opened up, Disney would not let the "A" package, which contained the NBA Finals and more, go on the open market. To prevent that, Disney raised their $1.4 billion fee to $2.8 billion a year. Sources also claimed Zaslav believed he only had to cough up between $1.8 and $2.1 billion to keep the "B" package and wasn't going to pay $2.4 billion. Since that happened, media rights have landed in the marketplace, and NBC has taken a chance to acquire them.

If WBD can't match the current deals, the 2024-25 season will be the last year under the current deal. One of the programs affected by that will be the iconic Inside The NBA show on TNT, which means cherish the combo f Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O'Neal while we have them.

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