Friday, August 23rd, 2013 at 10:30 am  |  35 responses

ESPN to Be Aggressive in Retaining NBA Broadcast Rights

The NBA is very important (and lucrative) to ESPN. President John Skipper says the media giant will do all it can to keep its broadcast rights once the current deal expires following the 2015-’16 season. Per Sports Business Daily: “ESPN President John Skipper said the net is intent on remaining a broadcast partner with the NBA and he expects ‘to be aggressive in doing that.’ Skipper said during ESPN’s Media Day Wednesday, ‘There are plenty of live sports rights, but the ones that make a difference are scarce.’ He called the NBA a ‘critical product’ for ESPN and added there are ‘not many things that move the needle like that.’ The net’s current rights deal expires after the ’15-16 season, and there have been rumors Fox will make a heavy play for the NBA to add content to the new FS1. Skipper addressed speculation that web-based platforms are increasingly competing for major sports rights, saying, ‘It is incomprehensible to me that the NBA would decide to put their games on a digital platform, and that sports fans are going to make a transformation, saying, ‘I’m going to go to Yahoo to watch my games tonight.’ I don’t think that’s going to happen. I don’t think they have any way to monetize those rights in the same way that traditional (networks can).’”

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  • Dfrance

    I really wish Turner Sports would handle all NBA related broadcasts. ESPNs coverage is so bad. Jalen Rose is the only one on their staff worth a d@mn and no one else knows how to play off of him.

    Bring the NBA on TBS back, throw some cash at Jalen and let ESPN have baseball.

  • Gavin

    PARAGRAPHS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IN ALL CAPS, please.

  • JibbsIsBallin

    TNT crushes ESPN’s broadcast teams and the half time segments. The only entertaning thing about ESPN other than the games itself are the commercials they air to promote the NBA and the national games. Their analysts suck. It’d be nice to see Jeff Van Gundy as a Tuner guy also.

  • ChosenOne

    Anyone here miss the NBA on NBC theme tune?
    That tune just made you even more hyped for the Playoffs.

  • daBiz

    they were better this year.

    Very obviously, they can’t top Chuck, Kenny, and Ernie; Marv, Steve, and Reggie. But give credit where it’s due. ESPN’s coverage is improving.

  • TR

    Jeff Van Gundy is straight. Their halftime reports are horrible though. I’d love to see them bring in Gary Payton, hes not with NBAtv anymore right?

  • Dfrance

    I actually thought they took a step back. They dropped two guys with NBA experience(Legler, Anthony) to bring in two guys that are just sport columnists in Wilbon and Bill Simmons. Wilbon doesn’t really add much and while Simmons can be insightful, his prepubescent voice is really tough to listen to.

    The actual calling of the games isn’t too bad, but their pre, halftime and postgame shows stink.

  • Dfrance

    He’s got some new show on Fox I believe. I think Gary was too raw for NBATV lol.

  • ChosenOne

    Hubie Brown is the hope at ESPN. He is great.

  • RedDragon10

    Totally agree. But I would take it a step further by stating that I can’t stand Jalen Rose, Magic, or Simmons’ analysis. Wilbon is the only analyst that makes sense to me. Personally, I think Van gundy and Mike Breen make a great broadcasting team though. The only reason I watch the half time show is to laugh at something ridiculous that Magic seems to always proclaim.

  • LobCity

    TNT weekdays & NBC weekends. I miss those tripleheaders on Sundays

  • LakeShow

    108 year old hope.
    Hubie “The Prodigy” Brown

  • spit hot fiyah


    man, after hearing this and watching some old school games on nbc broadcast it is impossible to not hear the lyrics as you listen to the theme.

    so yes bring it back!

  • spit hot fiyah

    haha definitely too raw, he was like kenny smith on extacy or something

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    Mike Breen and JVG together are great. Mike Tirico (who covers almost every sport) and Hubie Brown are also great. Doris Burke is one of a kind. She does NBA, WNBA, college men’s ball, and college women’s ball.

    If none of you have ever watched/heard Jalen Rose’s podcast on Grantland, I suggest you check it out. It’s him at his best. And what he does…he’s in his own lane.

  • bike

    I have a recurring dream where Hubie Brown and Erin Andrews team up for NBA games.

  • robb

    Jalen’s podcast is the best thing out there

  • Dfrance

    Love Hubie, I can listen to him talk basketball all day.

  • Dfrance

    The format is all wrong. Jalen needs to be like a freelance guy, but they have him as the host/moderator. He’s better when he can just interject a random thought into the topic. Magic is simply not a good public speaker and Bill Simmons is flat out annoying.

    The actual game broadcasts are not bad, its just the in studio stuff I despise.

  • TR

    haha, thats the kind of energy they need.

  • JoeMaMa

    Nail, meet head.

  • JoeMaMa

    “Aggressive in retaining rights”. I’m sorry, what? Say again, please? The owners were rattling their tin cups a bit too loudly.

  • JibbsIsBallin

    Hell of a dream man.

  • Silky Johnson

    Please go back to NBC. ESPN is absolutely atrocious. TNT and NBC should have the NBA for rest of eternity. Also, Marv Albert should be doing the Finals, not goofy ass Mike Breen. “YESH! AND THE FOUL!”

  • straight cake

    TNT is much better than ESPN in Coverage and Broadcasting. I would rather listen to analysis by Charles Barkley than Magic Johnson, never mind the fact that the TNT cast has more chemistry and is way more entertaining overall.

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    Love Steve Kerr, Marv Albert and to a lesser degree, Reggie Miller…but for the NBA Finals, there’s not a team better than Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy on ABC.

  • King David

    those were the days ! smh now its lebron this lebron that -_-

  • King David

    Mike Breen is GREAT dafuq u talking about?

  • Jay Brodes

    jalen is great. do not like simmons at all! magic is fine. love jvg and breen..they are great!! add collins as analyst and i am coolio!

  • 23

    True dat can’t stand that retarded laugh Breen always does. Mark Jackson was the sh*t

  • Turk

    Breen sounds like a corporate hack. He is a yes man. I don`t like him. JVG and Jalen are cool. Simmons is good too. The rest of ESPN are trash.

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com/ Off The Backboard

    Magic Johnson should not be anywhere near a broadcast or analysis booth. Ever. But I guess ESPN refuses to say no to him due to his status within the game. He honestly offers zero insight and changes his opinion every other day based on the latest game played.

    Simmons should also not be on TV because its hard to take him seriously on a panel full of accredited journalists and NBA stars. He is essentially one of us, a blog reader/writer who managed to find a shtick to resonate with the masses. It still doesn’t mean he’s fit for TV. He’s a hide and write kind of dude.

    Jalen is decent. ESPN should snag guys like Chris Webber from TNT/NBA TV if they want to make their programs interesting. It’s all too formulaic.

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com/ Off The Backboard


    /said about a million times thoughout every game

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com/ Off The Backboard

    Mark Jackson is as bad of an analyst as Magic Johnson is.

  • Dfrance

    Couldn’t agree more