The next NBA television rights deal could be massive, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
The league is hoping to double the money it gets from Disney (DIS) and Time Warner (TWX) to broadcast games. The current deal, which ends after the 2015-16 season, pays the NBA $485 million a year from Disney (which broadcasts games on ESPN and ABC). It also receives $445 million from Time Warner, which shows games on TNT. If the value of the deal doubles over 8 years, that would bring in nearly $15 billion dollars to the NBA.
The association could also be looking at splitting the NBA Finals between the two networks, either on a year-by-year or game-by-game basis. Right now the Finals air entirely on ABC.
As of now, the negotiations have to be exclusive with Time Warner and Disney. If a deal can’t be reached, the NBA could open up the bidding to other companies such as NBC Sports and CBS.
The timing of the deal played into the LeBron James signing story that Sports Illustrated reported last week. James only signed a two-year deal because it is expected that once new television rights are signed, revenues could skyrocket, causing the player salary cap to increase as well. This means that if the new television deal is signed, James will be able to sign a new contract at a higher salary.