Turner Sports Announces New Deal With the NBA

Ok, the new media rights deals for the National Basketball Association have been announced. Let’s first start with Turner Sports which has maintained a relationship with the Association dating back to 1984. With this being its 30th year of the marriage, this new agreement will ensure that the NBA and Turner will stay together through 40 years.

The new agreement will keep the status quo among the NBA’s TV partners, ESPN and TNT.

Here are some highlights of the new deal that begins with the 2016-17 season:

  • A nine year deal that runs through the 2024-25 season.
  • Increases TNT’s haul of regular season by 12 to a total of 64 games.
  • Increased digital rights for TNT and for the Bleacher Report;
  • Exclusive rights to NBA Opening Night;
  • Continued home of Thursday night doubleheaders;
  • Continues as the home of All-Star Weekend;
  • Exclusive playoff telecasts including one Conference Final, alternating between the Eastern and Western Finals with ESPN; and
  • Continues to manage the NBA’s digital properties including NBA TV, NBA.com and NBA League Pass.

The NBA got a lot of cash from Turner and we’ll get into that in a separate article later today. First, here’s the Turner Sports press release that outlines what you’ll see on the NBA’s Network of Record.

Turner Broadcasting and the National Basketball Association Reach Nine-Year Media Rights Extension

TNT to Add 12 Live Regular Season Games Each Year;
Network to Televise 64-Game Regular Season Schedule Under New Agreement
Enhanced Package of Digital Media Rights for Bleacher Report
Turner Sports to Continue Managing NBA Digital Portfolio Including NBA TV,
NBA.com, NBA Mobile, NBA LEAGUE PASS, WNBA.com & NBADLeague.com

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., and the National Basketball Association (NBA) have reached a new nine-year media rights agreement that will include the addition of 12 live regular season games airing on TNT each year and expanded digital media rights and sales opportunities, it was announced today by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and David Levy, President of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Turner Sports will also continue to manage NBA Digital, the league’s robust multimedia portfolio including NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA Mobile, NBA LEAGUE PASS, WNBA.com and NBADLeague.com.

This new agreement will extend Turner’s relationship with the NBA to more than 40 years and will increase TNT’s regular season coverage to 64 live games annually. Additionally, Turner will have enhanced digital rights to NBA content for Bleacher Report, its top-rated Team Stream app, and the brand’s social media handles. Turner acquired Bleacher Report, a leading digital sports destination, in 2012.

“This is a significant deal for our company and we are pleased to continue our long-standing partnership with the NBA, its fans, owners and players,” said Levy. “The agreement locks in some of the most valuable, original, premium live sports programming that we’ll continue to monetize across TNT and all other platforms within our extensive portfolio and will help further grow our businesses into the next decade.”

Effective with the start of the 2016-17 NBA regular season and extending through the 2024-25 campaign, TNT will have the following rights:

  • The network will be the home of NBA Opening Night;
  • Exclusive Thursday Night regular season doubleheaders;
  • TNT’s additional 12 games will air over the second half of the season on another night of the week than the network’s traditional Thursday Night doubleheaders;
  • Exclusive coverage of NBA All-Star Weekend signature events including NBA All-Star Saturday Night and the NBA All-Star Game;
  • More NBA Playoff games than any other network. TNT’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs will include live first round coverage, exclusive second round game telecasts and one Conference Finals (alternating between the Eastern and Western Conference each year).

Under the terms of the new agreement, Turner Sports will also maintain TV Everywhere rights that allow for all NBA content airing across Turner Broadcasting networks to be streamed live across the company’s multiple digital platforms. Additionally, Turner will have enhanced digital rights to have the NBA deliver content for Bleacher Report. This includes authenticated streaming rights for NBA on TNT games, the opportunity to develop and distribute new NBA content and programming for Bleacher Report, as well as rights to highlights for incorporation into the brand’s popular team- and topic-centric Team Stream Now video offerings.

The new agreement will provide Turner with expanded activations including the creation of an all-new NBA Awards Show and other ancillary events surrounding key NBA pillars such as Opening Week and the NBA Playoffs.

Since partnering with the NBA to manage the league’s multimedia portfolio in 2008, Turner Sports has delivered a number of innovations that have changed how the NBA is presented; as well as increasing the amount of original content that continues to resonate with fans including the introduction of NBA Fan Night and Open Court, along with the re-launch of NBA Inside Stuff last year. In addition to TNT talent featured on NBA TV including Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Marv Albert, the network also features additional league voices adding analysis and commentary including Grant Hill, Chris Webber, Greg Anthony and Steve Smith.

“We’re honored to be entrusted by the league to continue to manage the day-to-day operations of its NBA Digital portfolio,” added Lenny Daniels, President of Turner Sports. “The partnership has delivered tremendous results for both entities and we look forward to continuing to drive innovation across all screens.”

Turner first agreed to a deal with the NBA in 1984 and this marks the eighth agreement between the two organizations over the past 30 years. The critically acclaimed NBA on TNT traditionally delivers the highest-rated and most-viewed NBA regular season and playoff coverage of any cable television network. Under the current agreement, the NBA on TNT has delivered its six most-viewed regular seasons in the 30-plus year history with the league. Additionally, over the last 10 years, the NBA on TNT has registered nine of the top 10 overall programs airing on the network.

And ESPN’s announcement will be next.

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013. He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television. Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.