The NBA has lost viewership this season on its ABC games, but the estimated value of its next TV contract likely has eased ratings fears.
An outlet called Showbuzz, referenced in The Athletic’s story published last Friday, reports the current average for the 12 games on ABC in 2020-21 is 2.83 million. That’s down from last season’s all-time low of a 2.95 million average in 15 games.
The league’s defending champs haven’t helped, with L.A. Lakers stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James missing a month or more.
The fact remains, though, that ABC games are very likely to finish a little lower than last season, and the other league partners, ESPN and TNT, have not clarified their results.
Polls found that basketball fans believe the league is too involved in politics, with a Harris survey last year even discovering 19 percent said that they blamed the NBA’s deep links to China.
But virtually all major sports saw ratings plunge – this year’s Masters, for example – and the NBA should find a huge infusion of revenue from its next TV contract, which is only a year away.
Industry experts believe it could nearly triple the current, $24 billion agreement (about $2.6 billion per year).
From Jabari Young at CNBC:
“One person familiar with sports media deals said the NBA could get $70.2 billion over nine years…
“Should the NBA triple its rights and replicate its nine-year deal length, it would generate around $7 billion to $8 billion per season. That puts it just behind the NFL’s new $10 billion per year average once the new agreements begin. The NBA also has a $1.5 billion streaming deal with Chinese-based company Tencent Holdings.”
The NBA’s current TV partners, Disney (ABC/ESPN) and AT&T (Turner Broadcasting, which is TNT and NBA TV), are likely to re-up with the league.