NBA Extends Deals With ABC/ESPN And TNT

The NBA has shaken off a rocky post-season for television ratings to announce new deals with television partners ABC/ESPN and Turner Sports. 

 The new eight-year deals, which begin in 2008-09, give the TV partners digital rights to games, which will help the league improve its current take of around $765 million per year, though NBA execs won't offer specifics on the financials. 

 ABC will air a minimum of 15 regular-season games, and be allowed to feature more contests from the league’s top teams. ABC will also carry at least 15 playoff games, including the entire NBA Finals.

 ESPN and ESPN2 will air up to 75 regular-season games, mainly on Wednesdays and Fridays. ESPN will also air up to 29 playoff games.

 The multi-platform side of the deal sees ESPN getting rights to include ESPN and ABC games and studio programming in any ESPN offering, on a live, delayed and on-demand basis and in an interactive format. 

 ESPN for instance can simulcast full games on its and via its mobile television service.

 The deal also gives ESPN extensive right for its ESPN International networks, as well as including ESPN Radio, ESPN Classic and ESPN Deportes.

 Turner Sports’ deal includes an opening-night doubleheader and then Thursday night doubleheaders throughout the season, a total of 52 games on TNT.

 In addition to the NBA All-Star Game, Turner also will air up to 52 playoff games and have exclusive coverage of one conference final, which will alternate with ESPN.

 Turner also gets digital rights, and can simulcast its TNT games via broadband and wireless, as well as putting games on VOD shortly after the original airing.