The NBA announced eight-year extensions of its television contracts with ESPN-ABC and TNT, running through the 2015-2016 season. The new deals will allow the networks to put NBA games and other content on multiple digital media platforms, giving them more outlets – while they also pay the NBA more for the rights. The new deals are said to pay the NBA an average of 925 million per year, up substantially from the 765 million per year it has been receiving under the current contracts, which expire at the end of next season.
Under the new deal, ABC will continue to air 15 regular season games and the entire NBA Finals. It will also air more games earlier in the playoffs. ESPN and ESPN2 will continue to show up to 75 regular season games as well as one of the conference finals. The contract also has new rights for ESPN International to televise games worldwide.
ESPN-ABC's digital rights include, among other things, the ability to include ESPN and ABC games and studio programming in any ESPN offering, on a live, delayed and on-demand basis and in an interactive format; the use of NBA-licensed content in multi-sport programming; and the ability to simulcast full NBA games live on ESPN360.com and ESPN Mobile TV. "This agreement sets a new standard – it is the most expansive package of rights we've acquired from a major professional league in our 27-year history," said ESPN President George Bodeheimer.
As for TNT, the cable network will continue to air 52 regular-season games, the All-Star Game and one of the conference finals.