The NBA raised some eyebrows with its new deals with ESPN and Turner for the rights to broadcast games. The deals are for nine years, and will be worth $US2.7 billion per year, up from $US930 million per year the two networks are currently paying according to the New York Times.
Of this amount, ESPN will be paying “about $US1.4 billion per year” according to Sports Business Daily. For comparison, ESPN pays the NFL an average of $2.0 billion per year and Major League Baseball $700 million per year to broadcast games for those leagues.
However, things look a lot different if we consider how much ESPN is paying per game. The new deal with the NBA calls for ESPN (and sister-network ABC) to broadcast 100 regular season games and up to 44 postseason games or about $US9.7 million per game.
Meanwhile, the NFL deal is just for 17 regular season games, one postseason game, and the Pro Bowl, which translates to more than $US100 million per game. With MLB, ESPN is broadcasting 90 regular season games, one postseason game, or about $US7.7 million per game.
Of course, ESPN gets more out of these deals than just the rights to broadcast the game (e.g. access, digital content, MLB’s Home Run Derby, etc.). But ultimately, the key to ESPN’s rule as the self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader” is their ability to consistently provide live sports that fans want to see. This is something other networks are unable to provide.
Oh yeah, and once again, it is good to be the NFL.
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