ESPN to Be Aggressive in Retaining NBA Broadcast Rights

by August 23, 2013

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).'”