The Future of NBA Broadcasting
NBA ratings have flattened in recent years as cord-cutting continues to decimate pay-TV subscriber numbers. But the league remains a top sports property and should get a boost from its upcoming media deals.
Many NBA teams have their own RSNs, such as the NBC Sports RSNs (Bulls, Celtics, and Wizards), AT&T SportsNet (Rockets and Jazz), and YES Network (Nets and Knicks). Others share their local rights with other networks. nba중계
The History of NBA Broadcasting
The NBA’s early decades were marked by money-losing franchises, poor attendance and ratings, and a national image that was limited by the lack of television coverage. But the league was saved by the advent of the shot clock, which created a faster-paced game that made it more attractive to television viewers.
The league also innovated by instituting salary caps and by selling TV rights to ESPN and Turner Sports, which created a national platform for the sport that helped it gain mainstream appeal. These innovations, along with the rise of star players like Jordan and Magic Johnson, gave the NBA a major boost in popularity and helped it become an international sports phenomenon.
In recent years, NBA ratings have been climbing back on broadcast. The shortened 2012 regular season on ABC drew a higher rating than the World Series on FOX, and the NBA Finals have averaged double-digit ratings in each of the past seven years on TNT or ESPN, beating out the MLB World Series in five of those seasons.
The Current State of NBA Broadcasting
The NBA has seen its popularity and revenue streams increase in recent years, with a media rights deal worth $24 billion, a $1 billion Nike contract and an average team value above the $1 billion mark. But the league must find ways to continue growing while adapting for a new generation of fans who watch their games online and on streaming services.
The resumption of broadcasts on state television in China is an important step for the N.B.A., which has been almost completely off the air there since 2019 and whose executives have faced retaliation for supporting pro-democracy protests last fall. (A social-media post by Houston Rockets executive Daryl Morey angered the Chinese government and led to games being pulled from TV.)
With ESPN and Turner Sports’ current rights deals set to expire, the NBA is planning for a new era of broadcasting. It could launch a separate network for NBA games or use its current platform, NBA TV, to promote direct-to-consumer streaming options. A shift away from the cable bundle and RSNs would mean a decrease in local revenue for teams, but it is a trade-off that most experts believe the NBA should be willing to make.
The Future of NBA Broadcasting
In the future, NBA commissioner Adam Silver wants fans to have many different personalized options for watching a live game. He’s promoting ideas like having them scan their own avatar to replace a player in a video game-style broadcast, high-profile influencer and celebrity commentary, the ability to transport the action into virtual locations, and betting integration.
In addition, the NBA is experimenting with different streaming models like Twitch. This type of interactivity is an ideal way to attract younger viewers accustomed to watching content on their phones and tablets, rather than on traditional TV.
In 2025, when its next set of long-term media rights come up for negotiation, the NBA will be looking to land a new deal worth $50 billion or more. That’s a steep increase from the current $24 billion ESPN and TNT will get over nine years. But it’s an amount that should not be difficult for the league to hit, even if it does lose viewership to NFL games.
NBA TV offers news programs devoted to the league daily, in addition to programs that showcase the lives of individual NBA players. It also offers a variety of archived broadcasts from previous NBA seasons.
The channel’s flagship program is NBA Gametime Live, which features a host and studio analysts covering the latest news, highlights, and look-ins on games that are currently in progress. It airs live six days a week, except on Thursday nights when it is replaced by NBA Center Court on TNT.
The NBA also has its own streaming service, NBA League Pass. Fans can access games from the current season and past seasons on this platform for a fee that depends on their cable provider. However, the best option for NBA fans is YouTube TV, which carries all 30 teams and offers unlimited DVR storage. It is available through DISH, Charter’s new unified billing plan (now called Spectrum), and other cable providers.