The NBA has a Monday press conference lined up and the major rumour surrounding the conference relates to the announcement of new media rights. It is believed that there will be an announcement of extensions to the current deals that are in place with Turner, the TNT station, and with Disney, for their ABC and ESPN channels. The Wall Street Journal has gone public with the thought that the new deals will be extended all the way through to 2025!
Clearly there have been a lot of changes in the way people watch TV and consume sporting events and this has played a part in the new agreements. It is believed that there will be a new arrangement in the partnership with ESPN which will see an online video service provided to fans. This new service will show regular season games live and it is believed that the online option will be provided to people who are not already satellite or cable customers. This stands apart from the traditional ESPN model for live streaming but it will certainly help to expand their audience base while ensuring that there is a far wider audience for the channel.
New deal set to run to 2024/25
The NBA telecasts will still be shown on TNT, ESPN and ABC until 2024/25 with the new deal replacing the deal which was all set to expire at the end of the 2015/16 season. Early estimates suggest that the new deal will be worth $24 billion over the 9 years of its contract, which equates to close to $2.6 billion a season. At the moment, Disney is reported to be paying around $485 million every season and Turner is paying around $445m every season. This means that the new contracts represent a sizable jump in the money that the firms are paying and that the league is receiving.
There is no doubt that people will want to see a great return for the investment and there is also a lot to be said for how the players will be affected by this rise in money coming into the league. If the teams are getting more cash, the players will want more cash and this means that there has been a focus on pay rises and the salary cap.
There is going to be a lot of pressure from players and their agents to receive their share of the new money and it may be that some clubs will decide to keep the same percentage for paying players for their income that they currently do. This would be a fair way to do it and there is some talk that there will be a recommended salary cap imposed by the league but again, this is just a rumour at the moment.
Players will want more money
No doubt this will be the main focus for most of the journalists at the press conference so hopefully there will be a clearer suggestion on what is going to happen with respect to the wages that players will receive after the contract deal kicks in. There is no doubt that the players deserve their fair share of any new money that is coming into the league but again, will there be a fair share of money across the different players? When so much money is being put in by TV networks, there is clearly a need to ensure the big players are willing to cooperate to ensure that advertisers get the exposure they need.
There is a chance that the biggest stars could grab the cash, which could then lead to problems in the dressing room. Managing the wage bill is one of the biggest challenges for many NBA teams and finding the balance is a difficult process. Throwing more money at the problem may not be the solution people are looking for, especially if it is not redistributed in the correct manner.