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Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 at 11:30 am  |  20 responses

NBA Settles Massive TV Deal With Spirits of St. Louis Owners for $500 Million

Daniel Silna and Ozzie Silna had, for decades, the best (and craziest) deal in all of sports. According to the NY Times, the former owners of the ABA’s Spirits of St. Louis have at last reached a deal with the NBA:

The Spirits were excluded from the 1976 merger of the two leagues. So the Silnas watched unhappily as the New York (now Brooklyn) Nets, the Denver Nuggets, the Indiana Pacers and the San Antonio Spurs were absorbed into the N.B.A. But the Silnas negotiated an astonishing benefit that was critical to the merger: an agreement to be paid one-seventh of the national television revenue that each of the four teams was to receive, as long as the league continued to exist. That amounted to being paid in perpetuity, and so far, the deal has provided the Silnas with about $300 million.

On Tuesday, the Silnas, the league and the four former A.B.A. teams will announce a conditional deal that will end the Silnas’ golden annuity. Almost.

The Silnas are to receive a $500 million upfront payment, financed through a private placement of notes by JPMorgan Chase and Merrill Lynch, according to three people with direct knowledge of the agreement. The deal would end the enormous perpetual payments and settle a lawsuit filed in federal court by the Silnas that demanded additional compensation from sources of television revenue that did not exist in 1976, including NBA TV, foreign broadcasting of games and League Pass, the service that lets fans watch out-of-market games.

Still, the league is not getting rid of the Silnas altogether. They will continue to get some television revenue, some of it from the disputed sources named in their lawsuit, through a new partnership that is to be formed with the Nets, the Pacers, the Nuggets and the Spurs, according to the people with knowledge of the agreement. But at some point, the Silnas can be bought out of their interest in the partnership.

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  • spit hot fiyah

    “They will continue to get some
    television revenue, some of it from the disputed sources named in their
    lawsuit, through a new partnership that is to be formed with the Nets,
    the Pacers, the Nuggets and the Spurs, according to the people with
    knowledge of the agreement. But at some point, the Silnas can be bought
    out of their interest in the partnership.”

    so they settled but will still get annual payments?

  • pposse

    500 million up front is ridic..still want to know why the Silnas would settle.

  • Dfrance

    I went to the source article and it says the 80 year old brother is pushing to settle more than the 69 year old brother. I can only assume he knows his time on earth is limited and he wants to get the most he can for the rest of his fam before he goes.

  • Dfrance

    That’s what is sounds like, maybe the percentage will be less going forward?

  • spit hot fiyah

    killer negotiators

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    the original settlement had language that ensures the rights were passed on to the next generation. maybe he doesn’t trust his oldest child

  • RyanDeahn

    Probably wants to spend some of that cash before they kick the bucket. Silnas for the win!!!

  • notoner

    I don’t live in the US, so this might be a dumb question… What’s the likelihood that in, say, 20 or 30 years, there’ll be no national TV coverage in the US for NBA because everyone is watching NBA TV, LP or online? Because if that’s plausible, I can see why they made this deal – when there is NO national TV revenue, 1/7th of zero dollars is zero dollars. Maybe the Silnas group is looking ahead, decided to get a smaller cut but gets included in NBA TV and LP revenue

  • pposse

    online maybe..but the stream would have to be consistently amazing. Probably less than 1/10 nba fans have league pass, maybe 5/10 have the base channel nba tv. The nba should be on national tv for a long time

  • notoner

    Maybe they’re future-proofing this deal for their future generations…?

  • Dfrance

    So… do they have any single or widowed daughters?

  • jbond

    They get a percentage of media revenues not just tv media. Thats the deal so weather its Tv, computer or whatever it is their deal would stand

  • pposse

    thats the part i dont understand..its ot like the nets spurs pacers and nuggets will ever go away. I would think off the top of my head that the deal they have now could transfer to their children and it would be better to just keep the deal as is

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk
  • mariel

    Their lawyer is the killer negotiator

  • brothasdontsurf

    If only Jackie Moon had done this!

    (yes I know he was fictional I’s just facking around)

  • Ugh

    The most amazing thing ever.

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    nba tv big ups to rick kamala you know the east side and west side been

  • Dfrance

    Selfish. lol

  • YD Chaney

    DONT Settle! F the NBA, they screwed owners like the Silnas’ and they should stick to the agreement struck “in perpetuity”

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