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NBA extends deal with Disney and Turner

MUMBAI: The National Basketball Association (NBA) has expanded its partnerships in the US with Turner Broadcasting System and Disney through new, nine-year agreements under which ABC, TNT, and ESPN will televise NBA games beginning with the 2016-17 season and running through the 2024-25 season. In India, NBA action airs on Six.

The agreements were announced by NBA commissioner Adam Silver; Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, Turner president David Levy; and ESPN president and Disney Media Networks Co-Chairman John Skipper. The NBA’s current eight-year deals with ABC/ESPN and TNT expire at the end of the 2015-16 season.

By the end of these new agreements, the NBA’s partnership will reach 41 years with Turner, while the league’s relationship with ABC/ESPN will extend to 23 years. Additionally, NBA TV’s Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Saturday game telecasts will continue to fill out the schedule, ensuring a full week of nationally televised games. The NBA’s 24-hour network will present over 100 regular-season games each year.

The NBA and Turner will also continue their groundbreaking partnership to manage jointly the NBA’s digital assets including NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA Mobile, NBA League Pass, and WNBA.com, which Turner operates out of its Atlanta production facility. TNT will also debut the first-ever NBA Awards Show, an annual event which will air at the end of the season, and will have expanded activation opportunities surrounding key NBA pillars such as Opening Night and NBA All-Star Week.

Under the agreement, ESPN will be granted enhanced digital rights to provide NBA content for multiple ESPN platforms, including ESPN.com and WatchESPN.

The parties have also established a framework for ESPN and the NBA to negotiate the launch of a new over-the-top offering in which the league would receive an equity interest. Details for the new offering will be announced at a future date.

Under a new deal with the WNBA, games will continue to be televised on ABC and ESPN/ESPN2 through the 2025 season. ESPN also will have enhanced in-progress highlight rights for the WNBA on digital and linear platforms.

Beginning with the 2016-17 season, for the first time, at least 20 NBA Development League games and NBA Summer League games will be seen on the ESPN television networks.

Turner Sports will have enhanced content/digital rights to NBA content for multiple TNT platforms including Bleacher Report; interactive online elements such as selected camera angles, statistic feeds and video to complement TNT’s telecasts; and broadband and other content for digital platforms, including highlights and studio shows. This includes 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.

Silver said, “The Walt Disney Company and Turner Broadcasting share responsibility for the growing popularity and interest the NBA enjoys, and we are thrilled to extend our partnerships. With these new agreements, our fans will continue to benefit from the outstanding NBA coverage and programming provided by ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV and their digital platforms.”

Leonsis said, “These nine-year extensions with Disney and Turner recognize the extraordinary value of live premium sports. On behalf of our Media Committee and the other team owners, we thank Disney and Turner for their commitment to the NBA and its fans.”