As predicted, Time Warner’s (TWX) Turner unit is taking over control of the NBA’s website and cable network. Ops will move out of New Jersey to Atlanta.
This looks like a fairly straightforward deal: Turner has been adding other sports league’s digital operations to its portfolio — it now runs Nascar.com and PGA.com — and the NBA needs help getting distribution for its game broadcasts. The Hollywood Reporter:
Unlike the upcoming MLB Channel and to a certain extent the NFL Network, NBA TV has had a difficult time breaking out of the digital sports tier. The network, which launched online in 1999 and became a full-fledged cable channel in 2003, has about 12 million subscribers. This is despite the fact that NBA TV carries about 90 regular-season games as well as WNBA matches and other original programming from its studios in Secaucus, N.J.
Update: Staci Kramer listened to an hour-long (!) conference call and has more details. The two sides are describing this as a joint venture, but from what we can that’s a semantic difference — Turner is steering and the NBA will sit in the back seat.
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