One of the top streaming services, Netflix, has shown reluctance to join live sports rights, though that might change as they have shown interest in the NBA In-Season Tournament.
Sports Business Journal reported Monday that Netflix has shown “some interest” in acquiring rights to the In-Season Tournament and potentially developing a docuseries. This series would be a complement to the NBA games. The earliest that Netflix could place a bid for the NBA is late April, when the NBA’s exclusive negotiating window with ESPN and Turner is set to expire.
The closest that the NBA has got to live sports is placing a bid on the rights to Formula 1 last year. The company that ushered in the age of streaming has been largely an afterthought among those services when it comes to live sports. In recent years, they have been lapped by Amazon, who has rights to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football, Hulu has tons of Live Sports and Apple who has rights to Major League Soccer and a small Major League Baseball package.
At this point in time, its unclear whether the NBA will keep the In-Season Tournament or if they have plans to keep it break it out into its own TV package. The latter seems very likely. Having the NBA In-Season Tournament on its own package, whether with Netflix or another service, would indicate that the NBA wants to spread the proverbial wealth. Something that may be a necessity for the league as both ESPN and TNT are set to explore reduced deals for their broadcasters. A report by Front Office Sports last month indicated that the NBA could go with as many as five partners in its new media rights deal.
Any new media deal would take place at the start of Fall 2025.
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