Connect with us
Jim Cutler Demos

Sports TV News

NBA Load Management Rule Could Add More Value in Media Rights Negotiations

“The more the NBA can bridge the gap between audience levels for regular season games versus [nationally-televised] playoff games, the more value it creates.”

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

NBA Logo
Courtesy: National Basketball Association

The National Basketball Association Board of Governors has approved a new rule that will prohibit “load management,” vernacular that has been used to describe resting healthy players. Often associated with superstar players such as Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis, having teams opt to rest healthy athletes takes away from the fan experience, especially if parts of the crowd attended the matchup just so they could see some of these luminaries of the game. The decision comes two years ahead of the expiration of the Association’s national television rights deal and ahead of the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament.

These new rules will give the league office authority to fine teams over $1 million for each violation, along with more oversight regarding the enforcement thereof. There has been a player resting policy since the 2017-18 season that fined clubs $100,000 per infraction, which also included policies for resting players during away games or multiple players at a time. For the 2023-24 season and beyond, the policy has been tightened to indicate “star players.”

According to the league, a “star player” is defined as someone who has made an All-Star or All-NBA team within the past three seasons, but there are exceptions to the rule. Players over the age of 35 on opening night or those who have workloads of 34,000 regular-season minutes or 1,000 combined regular-season and playoff games will be allowed back-to-back rest days; however, it must be approved by the league in advance.

Just how this impacts the league’s media rights negotiations remains to be seen, nor is it known whether or not The Walt Disney Company or Warner Bros. Discovery pushed for it to occur. The current television media rights partners pay a combined $2.6 billion annually and are both expected to demonstrate interest in renewing their packages. Multiple reports, however, divulge that the league is said to be looking to add digital and streaming components into the next deal, which could be worth between $50 and $75 billion.

“Raising interest in nationally-televised regular season matchups is frequently about which star players are going to play,” media consultant John Kosner told Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports. “The NFL and, to a far lesser extent, college football generate playoff-level ratings during their regular season. They’re the only ones.”

ESPN recently announced a new lead NBA commentary team of Mike Breen, Doris Burke and Doc Rivers, which came after the network opted to lay off Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson. Moreover, NBA Countdown is adopting a new cast this year with host Malika Andrews and analyst Bob Myers joining Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon. Conversely, no major changes are expected to take place with Inside the NBA featuring Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Shaquille O’Neal. The cable network has employed the lead broadcast team of Kevin Harlan, Stan Van Gundy and Reggie Miller since the retirement of Marv Albert after the 2021 NBA Playoffs.

“The more the NBA can bridge the gap between audience levels for regular season games versus [nationally-televised] playoff games, the more value it creates,” Kosner added. “So, of course, that’s important to the NBA, its broadcast partners and advertisers, and [it] matters for the league’s next media deals.”

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Sports TV News

Report: TNT Still in Play to Retain NBA Media Rights

The report states that no official offers have been finalized at the moment, hence the lack of having to match an offer.

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

TNT Sports Logo
(Illustration) | TNT Sports Logo – Courtesy: Warner Bros. Discovery | Studio J – Courtesy: Raeford Dwyer Photography

Negotiations for the next round of media rights for the NBA remain ongoing as we await a final resolution. Reports have stated that The Walt Disney Company and Amazon Prime Video have reached the framework of agreements for respective rights packages, presumably leaving one more series of games that could go to the incumbent Warner Bros. Discovery’s TNT Sports or Comcast’s NBCUniversal.

If Warner Bros. Discovery were to lose the NBA, there is ambiguity towards provisions surrounding matching rights; however, the company has not yet reached that point, according to a new report from Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports. The “B” package would reportedly contain a conference final every other year while the “C” package would reportedly include the in-season tournament, play-in games and early-round playoff series.

TNT Sports, formerly known as Turner Sports, is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Discovery, which has had a relationship with the league in various iterations since the 1984-85 season. Although TNT Sports president and chief executive officer Luis Silberwasser stated at the company’s Upfront event last week that it was looking forward to next season and reaching an agreement that makes sense for all parties, it reportedly may need to pay more for less inventory. NBCUniversal is reportedly set to bid $2.5 billion a year for NBA rights, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, which would more than double the reported $1.2 billion paid annually by Warner Bros. Discovery.

The report states that no official offers have been finalized at the moment, hence the lack of having to match an offer. Alex Sherman of CNBC reported that potential litigation could take place if Warner Bros. Discovery matches but the league decides to accept NBCUniversal’s deal. Charles Barkley, studio analyst for Inside the NBA, has expressed on numerous occasions that the negotiations are stressful and that there is uncertainty surrounding the result. Barkley, along with his colleagues Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny “The Jet” Smith, all reportedly have opt-out clauses in their contracts should Warner Bros. Discovery lose broadcasting rights to the NBA.

TNT will be the broadcast home of the Western Conference Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves beginning on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. EST. Kevin Harlan, Stan Van Gundy, Reggie Miller and Allie LaForce will be on the call, while the Inside the NBA crew will provide pregame, halftime and postgame coverage. Golden State Warriors forward and four-time NBA champion Draymond Green will join the show throughout the series as well, first reported by Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

Sports TV News

TNT Sports Draws Its Largest Early Round NBA Playoff Audience Ever

The game delivered 8.41 million viewers across TNT and truTV.

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

TNT Sports Logo (2024 Warner Bros. Discovery Upfront)
Courtesy: Derek Futterman, Barrett Sports Media

This past weekend, TNT Sports had one of the best sporting events you can have, a Game 7. The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Denver Nuggets were tied at three games apiece in their second round NBA playoff matchup and with superstars Anthony Edwards and Nikola Jokic and a Sunday night primetime slot, it was set up to do a big number. According to Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch the game delivered 8.41 million viewers across TNT and truTV making it the most viewed first or second round playoff game ever to air on TNT.

Lewis reports the previous high for TNT was an Orlando Magic-Boston Celtics Game 7 in 2009, but also notes out-of-home viewing was not being tracked back then so it isn’t exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. He said the game had the fourth-largest audience for an opening or second round game since 2012 on any network.

The Pacers and the Knicks also played a Game 7 which went on while the final round of the PGA Championship was happening and brought in 6.45 million viewers on ABC.

Overall, Lewis shared the NBA playoffs are averaging 3.77 million viewers, which includes games on ABC, ESPN, TNT, truTV, and NBA TV. That number represents a decrease of 11% in viewership from a year ago.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

Sports TV News

Stephen A. Smith’s ‘Up For Debate: The Evolution of Sports Media’ Now Out on ESPN+

“We’re diving deep into the heart of the game, breaking down barriers and showcasing the evolution of sports discourse.”

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

Graphic for an ESPN+ Original Series, Up for Debate
Courtesy: ESPN

The new three-part ESPN+ Original Series, ‘Up For Debate: The Evolution of Sports Media,’ debuted earlier today. Viewers can now stream the series on ESPN+, which delves into the history of sports talk debate programming over the past seven decades– from Howard Cosell to Stephen A. Smith to Cam’Ron– and examines how this type of sports discourse has evolved and reached its current state, as well as what the future may hold for it.

“We’re diving deep into the heart of the game, breaking down barriers and showcasing the evolution of sports discourse,” said Executive Producer Stephen A. Smith in a release. “From the legends who paved the way to the current Kings and Queens of the mic, we’re bringing you a front-row seat to the passion and intensity that fuel debates in today’s generation of sports. So buckle up! Here we come.”

Religion of Sports’ Gotham Chopra, also an Executive Producer on the series stated, “We’re thrilled to partner with Stephen A. Smith, a pioneer and undisputed legend in the world of sports talk, on this entertaining and fascinating series. Highlighting both the evolution of sports media and a wide range of beloved personalities, we know that fans of sports, media, and passionate debate are going to love it.”

Several sports personalities are featured in the series including Troy Aikman, Mina Kimes, Molly Qerim, Shannon Sharpe, Michael Wilbon, Hannah Storm, Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo, Jemele Hill, Bomani Jones, Cari Champion, and Cam’Ron, and others.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Advertisement

Upcoming Events

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2024 Barrett Media.