NBA Looks To Go Yards Better Than The NFL - Speaking Exclusively

The NBA is looking at the next round of TV contracts -- which could in effect blow past that of the NFL's recent TV dealings in one regard: Streaming exclusivity.

It could make streaming the principal TV process of viewership for fans, usurping that of linear TV. 

While the NFL does have streaming as a component of its TV deals -- exclusively with “Thursday Night Football” with Amazon Prime Video -- linear TV networks (Fox, NBC, CBS, and ABC/ESPN) are the main points of contact between the big professional football league and adoring fans.

Reports suggest that the new NBA deal will include three separate packages and possibly four -- potentially to include Prime Video, Apple TV+ or others taking major positions -- including the possibility that as part of a long-term deal, platforms like Prime Video might have the exclusive rights to a NBA conference final, or possibly even an NBA championship series some time during the contract's duration.



This would tip the scales in favor of growing streaming platforms. Analysts have assumed that live, linear TV would continue to be around for many decades because of live sports. But maybe not.

One possible issue arising from more TV sports leaving linear TV  is that not everyone in the U.S. has alternative means for digital access -- for example, pay TV technology into the home, or even broadband. So the reach of all potential consumers could continue to be an issue. 

Peacock recently tested the waters with an opening exclusive “wild card” AFC playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins. Next season, Prime Video will get an exclusive NFL playoff game as well.

The “exclusive” AFC playoff came amidst some controversy that some viewers could not see the game via over-the-air TV. Local Kansas City and Miami fans could still get to access the game via local TV NBC station affiliates, which helped to calm down the criticism.

The process might continue in the near term if exclusive streaming games continue with the NBA.

Longtime NBA TV incumbents such as ESPN and TNT surely will do all that is necessary to keep what many say is almost a mandatory, must-have sports league on their TV airwaves. 

But competitors NBCUniversal, Amazon and others are in hot pursuit -- looking to make a steal and run down the court for an easy layup.

2 comments about "NBA Looks To Go Yards Better Than The NFL - Speaking Exclusively".
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  1. Ben B from Retired, April 24, 2024 at 8:55 p.m.

    NFL Playoff game was clearly a flop and should be on lear TV than on streaming which was spin from Peacock & the NFL. And the NBA Finals should always be on lear TV as well. TNF has been a flop on Prime as well.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 29, 2024 at 8:19 a.m.

    Wayne, the key point---which you mentioned---is loss of reach. Any NBA package that is available only via streaming but includes many of the not-so- important games in the league's extended regular season schedule is likely to deliver even smaller average minute audiences than the NBA is now drawing via linear---to say nothing of overall reach.

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