The Upcoming NBA Broadcast Deal Could Tip Things Further Towards Streaming

Is a big shakeup in the works?

NBA Playoffs
How will you be watching the NBA in the years to come?
Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

How do you prefer to watch televised sports? The answer to that is increasing “on streaming,” depending on the sport and league in question. Amazon now has the rights to one NFL playoff game; Apple TV+ airs Major League Soccer and may soon have the rights to the Club World Cup.

The question of where NBA games will be broadcast after the current deal expires at the end of next season is a big one — and it could further transform the way sports fans watch their favorite teams and players.

In a new article for the Los Angeles Times, Stephen Battaglio analyzed the current possibilities — and what they could mean both for viewers at home and broadcasters around the country. One of the questions currently unanswered is what this could all mean for TNT and its long-running coverage of the league. Battaglio also reports that Prime Video subscribers are likely to benefit, writing that the service “is expected to get an exclusive package of games.”

Battaglio has long focused on the business side of television, which makes his analysis so useful here. He reports that Disney — represented by ABC and ESPN — is likely to maintain its relationship with the league, but that Comcast could end up with a competitive bid for some games as well. The company, he writes, has “reportedly has made a $2.5-billion bid for a package of games for streaming service Peacock and broadcast network NBC.”

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It’s not surprising to see more sports heading to Peacock — after all, the streaming service did very well when it aired an NFL playoff game. As for what Comcast’s bid could mean for TNT’s future with the NBA, that much is yet uncertain. The appeal of streaming services initially came from the on-demand-ness of it all; it’ll be revealing if many services’ business ends up being shored up by live sports (with some supplemental programming) instead.

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