NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says finalizing the new media rights deals is 'complex' process


BOSTON — Getting the NBA’s next round of media rights deals completed is an extremely complex proposition, Commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday, especially because nobody can say with any certainty what the viewing landscape will look like in the future.

Silver, speaking in his annual pre-NBA Finals news conference, did not offer any hints on when the next series of deals will be completed, other than saying “in the relative near term.” The current deals with ABC-ESPN and Turner Sports expire after next season and the NBA has been talking with NBC, ESPN and Amazon, among other networks and platforms, about what comes next.

The expectations, from networks and others involved in the process, is that the new agreements will be for 11 years and could exceed $70 billion in total value. Those would smash the existing norms for both value and deal length; the current one is nine years, $24 billion.

“We tend to do long-term deals,” Silver said. “We think that’s good for the stability of the league. But it means to a certain extent you’re trying to predict the future, which is of course impossible.”

What remains most unclear is how, or if, Turner will remain involved with the NBA when the new deals get struck.

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav sounded an ominous note in late 2022, saying that Turner and WBD “don’t have to have the NBA” once their current deal expires. If WBD is not part of the next deals, one of the most recognizable changes for fans could be the demise of the highly popular “Inside the NBA” program featuring former NBA stars Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith.

“That show, in particular, is special.” Silver said.

When the deals get done — whether it’s in the coming days, weeks or even months — it would clear the way for the next major item on the NBA’s to-do list, that being expansion.

Silver has been very clear on the order of his top agenda items in recent seasons, those being preserving labor peace (which was achieved with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement) and getting a new media deal (talks ongoing). Then the league, at some point, will turn its attention toward adding new franchises.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba



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