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NBA Broadcasting Rights: Amazon Nearing Agreement

Adam Silver is dealing with Amazon and NBA broadcasting rights

Less than a week removed from the exclusive negotiation window deadline this past Monday, the NBA is closing in on striking a deal with Amazon Prime Video to broadcast NBA games this upcoming season.

NBA Broadcasting Rights: Amazon Nearing Agreement

How Did We Get Here?

The NBA’s last broadcasting agreement, a 9-year $24 billion deal with Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. Discovery — the parent companies of ESPN and TNT, respectively — was signed in October 2014 and is nearing its end.

Although live sports continue to draw viewers to conventional television networks, live streaming has become more popular among major professional sports leagues as cable television broadcasting continues to decline. The NBA is seeking a streaming-centric package to expand its access to non-linear television viewers.

Nielsen viewership data from 2022 found that U.S. video audiences streamed 17 million years worth of video. In 2023, that amount of streamed video would increase by 21%, reaching 21 million years of streamed video.

Though linear television endures through streaming services like Tubi, Sling and Fubo, its viewership has taken a massive hit. Nielsen data also show that while streaming accounted for 38.7% of TV usage in 2023, broadcast and cable TV only constituted a combined 49.6% of viewership, marking the first time linear television has been outpaced by streaming.

What Do We Know?

Alex Marchand of The Athletic reported Friday that Amazon will be among the NBA’s new broadcasting partners. Amazon will join ESPN, which will continue to air games.

Amazon is expected to begin presenting NBA matches from the 2025-2026 season onward. The streaming service is set to provide both regular and postseason coverage.

The deal is expected to last for at least a decade and will likely dwarf the $24 billion deal the league previously had. The matches that Amazon will air will cut into the coverage typically provided by ESPN, leaving an opening for another network or streaming service to lock up broadcasting rights for the remaining games.

What Remains To Be Resolved?

Warner Bros. and the NBA still have yet to come to an agreement. The entertainment company has maintained a relationship with the NBA for nearly four decades. The league first signed on with Warner Bros. in 1984, agreeing to present games on TNT. The network has streaming capabilities and has aired basketball broadcasts on Max — the Warner Bros.-owned streaming service.

However, several other networks and streaming platforms have put themselves in the conversation to present NBA matches. NBC has been aggressive in its efforts to sign with the association. The network carried the NBA from 1990 to 2002 and is seeking to regain pro basketball broadcasting rights, coming off of losing WWE streaming rights back in January.

Google, — the parent company of YouTube — Netflix, and Apple are among the contenders to present the remaining games. All three companies made forays into live sports in recent years.

In addition to presenting live wrestling starting in 2025, Netflix is set to present the exhibition fight between Mike Tyson and Jake Paul. YouTube TV won the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket in 2022. Apple nabbed exclusive streaming rights to MLS matches in 2022, and the tech company also presents weekly MLB coverage on Fridays.

LWOS will continue to report developments on this story as they arise.


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