TNT In Heated Battle With NBC Over The NBA

By Douglas Helm | Published

TNT has some competition from NBC regarding its NBA games package. Puck senior correspondent John Ourand appeared on an episode of the SI Media with Jimmy Traina podcast to discuss the dealings. Reportedly, NBC is offering a whopping $2.5 billion to nab the games package after TNT’s, aka Warner Bros Discovery, deal expires after next season.

Major Dollars At Stake For NBA Rights

According to Ourand, the “A” package of games will stay on ABC/ESPN, and Amazon will get a “C” package of games to air to customers. However, Ourand said that TNT will likely hold on to its “B” package of games and that the NBC offer won’t be enough to sway the NBA from the network. Ourand said, “I am very positive about Warner Brothers Discovery’s chances to keep the NBA.”

Part OF TNT For Generations

According to Ourand, TNT and TBS have prioritized the NBA since the 1980s, making it part of the “DNA of the company,” so it seems unlikely that Warner Bros Discovery is going to give up the package to NBC without a fight. Ourand did say that the negotiations between the companies are “fluid” but also pointed out that Warner Bros Discovery has the right to match NBC’s offer if need be. We likely won’t have to wait long to find out how the deals shake out, as Ourand also mentioned that the new TV deals should be announced by the NBA within a couple of weeks’ time.

Inside The NBA Is At Risk

Other topics discussed included how the TNT, NBC, and NBA negotiations may impact shows like Inside the NBA, which stars Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal. In any case, with billions of dollars at stake, things are likely going to heat up as the deals get closer to being closed. But Warner Bros Discovery certainly seems like it wouldn’t want to give up this sort of revenue and viewership opportunity, so we’ll have to wait and see where the NBA ends up going.

Live Sports Are In Demand

If TNT ends up losing the deal to NBC, it would be a huge boon to the latter network, which already has quite a big television sports imprint with Sunday Night Football for the NFL. The network lost the NBA rights over two decades ago to Disney, and this massive $2.5 billion dollar offer makes it appear that it’s eager to get basketball back. Meanwhile, Warner Bros Discovery pays somewhere in the range of $1.2 billion for the NBA rights currently, so NBC’s offer is over double what Warner Bros Discovery is currently paying.

Warner Bros. Discovery Isn’t The Big Dog In This Fight

This massive offer may be too rich for TNT, and it’s entirely possible that Warner Bros Discovery may not want to pony up enough, allowing NBC to snatch back its long-lost NBA rights. NBC also has a lot more money to play around with, as Comcast NBCUniversal has a whopping $150 billion market capitalization compared to Warner Bros Discovery’s $18 billion. If Warner Bros Discovery decided to be frugal, we may see this deal play out a different way.

Warner’s Budgeting Coming Back To Bite Them?

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Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav has made quite a few controversial decisions in the name of frugality, outright canceling movies like Batgirl along with various shows. If Zaslav has the same attitude about TNT retaining NBA rights, then NBC may have the upper hand. For now, we’ll just have to watch the megacorps fight it out.