TNT Sports hopes cultural relevance of NBA coverage aids TV rights renewal talks – SportsPro

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TNT Sports I hope for the cultural significance and popularity of the National Basketball Association.NBA) coverage will help his ability to renew his domestic media rights deal with the league.

Cable network, which is now a part Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) media empire, currently shares national coverage of the league. ESPN A deal worth $2.6 billion a year has been reached.

Those terms, It was signed in 2014It runs until the end of the 2024/25 season, and the incumbents reportedly have an exclusive negotiating window that ends in April next year.

While live games are the crown jewel of TNT’s coverage, the broadcaster’s Inside the NBA pregame, halftime and postgame shows have become one of the most popular programs on American sports entertainment since the network began airing the NBA in 1988. .

Fronted by host Ernie Johnson and former players Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, the show has won 17 Sports Emmy Awards and won awards for game analysis, unpredictability and panel chemistry.

Craig Barry, WBD’s chief content officer for the United States, hopes the show’s popularity and reach won’t go unnoticed with competition like the NBA. NBCAmazon and Apple.

“Yes,” he said, fielding a question from SportsPro about whether WBD would be a factor in the NBA’s ongoing negotiations. “Who can really measure it? I’d like to think it matters. But it doesn’t matter more than the game. It doesn’t matter more than the teams, the matches, the players.

But I’d like to think it’s a great addition to what people consider traditionally relevant to the game.

One market where TNT has signed a new deal with the NBA is in the UK and Ireland. The broadcaster took over coverage from a competing television network Sky Sports By A Multi-year agreement That gives you rights to at least nine regular season games per week, as well as glitzy events like the All-Star Game, playoffs and playoffs.

For midweek games, TNT in the UK is carrying the same feed of live games broadcast by TNT in the US, featuring the same commentary team as the network’s Inside the NBA programming. However, Sports Pro understands there are plans for a built-in studio show exclusively for the UK market, which is expected to be released next year.

In the United Kingdom, the NBA agreement came later BT Sport It was transformed into TNT Sports as part of a 50:50 joint venture between BT Group and WBD. Barry said the new rights deal will give the company an opportunity to grow the TNT brand globally in the US and Latin America.

“We’re in the NBA business, and we’re in the international sports business,” he said. “When these opportunities come together and create a great opportunity for the company, I think that’s very exciting for us.”

The interview was part of a feature published during Sports Pros. Distribution week. Click to read the full version of the article over here.

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