TicketManager | NBA Media Rights: A Step into Streaming?

The NBA’s current media rights deals with Disney (ESPN) and Warner Bros. Discovery (TNT) is going into its final stretch, with the deals set to expire in 2025.  

Last week was the league’s exclusive media rights negotiating window with its current partners, but that came and went without a new deal. This is a deviation from the norm, as the league renewed with its current partners months before the last expiry date in 2014.  

The league is searching for both a longer contract, with the NBA hoping for a deal that lasts a “decade or longer,” and a significant value increase, with CNBC reporting that the league “wants to double the $24 billion it generated from its previous media rights deal” through the addition of new broadcast partners and charging more for its rights.  

Now, as of Tuesday at 12 AM, the NBA is free to negotiate with whomever they’d like, and multiple insiders are reporting that the league wants to make a significant push into the streaming space.  

The NBA has reportedly had preliminary discussions with multiple platforms like Amazon, Apple, YouTube TV, and Netflix with the hopes of adding a streaming-focused broadcast partner into the mix.  

Here is what each potential streaming platform can bring to the table:  

Amazon Prime 

Amazon has, arguably, the most experience in streaming marquee sporting events, most notably with its exclusive deal with the NFL to broadcast Thursday Night Football (TNF) on its Amazon Prime Platform.  

Prime has existing statistics proving the success of its sports streaming ability. The 2023 season was its second streaming TNF and they saw an average of 11.86 million viewers per game, a 24% increase over the 2022 season. Prime also recorded 13 weeks of double-digit gains over the previous year.  

They also have proven success with the coveted 18-34 demographic, seeing a 14% year-over-year increase in viewership. Female viewership is also on the rise, with a 30% increase. 

It is easy to see how Amazon could take what they’ve learned with football and repurpose that success towards basketball. But would they want to pay what it will cost to add a marquee offering like NBA basketball in addition to their deal with the NFL? 

Apple TV 

Apple is second to only Amazon Prime when it comes to live sports streaming, and they are making significant moves that could soon put them on top.  

The tech giant already has a 10-year, $2.5 billion broadcast agreement with Major League Soccer (MLS) to broadcast matches exclusively on the Apple TV platform’s MLS Season Pass offering.  

Apple and the MLS have been very private with viewership numbers, but reports from sources close to the organizations say that Apple is hitting its viewership goals. In February, it was reported that the MLS Season Pass offering surpassed 2 million subscribers. 

The NBA currently has its own DTC streaming offering, League Pass, that offers all non-exclusive, out of region NBA games for a flat subscription fee, but it has yet to truly take off. Could the NBA fold this offering into a deal with Apple who could leverage its existing success into the creation of a truly great DTC NBA streaming offering?


Netflix is a newcomer on the live-sports streaming scene, but they are committing to it. Netflix took its first step with last November’s Netflix Cup, where they paired F1 drivers with PGA golfers in a match-play golf event. Next, they hosted the Netflix Slam, an exhibition match between Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz. These offerings went hand in hand with the streamer’s docuseries, F1’s Drive to Survive and the golf focused Full Swing.  

Recently, the company announced that they would be streaming a boxing match between 57-year-old former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and YouTuber turned boxer Jake Paul. This was met with a wide range of opinions, but undoubtably grabbed public interest.  

Netflix recently took its biggest leap around a week ago, completing a 10-year deal with the WWE to stream its weekly show, Raw, starting in early 2025. The deal is reportedly worth upwards of $5 billion. 

The biggest question with regards to a Netflix x NBA partnership would be whether or not Netflix still has the resources to commit to a deal as massive as the NBA’s media rights after already committing so much to the WWE and its own events. But I wouldn’t count out the OG streaming giant just yet.

YouTube TV 

YouTube TV may be the perfect “goldilocks” partner for the league. Not too much of a traditional broadcast channel, but not too far off from what they are used too. Maybe, it’s just right.  

The Google-owned platform offers a very similar experience to traditional cable TV, with most of the well-known channels and local offerings, but all within a streaming platform.  

The NBA could take everything it has built from years of work with traditional TV providers and roll most of it over to the YouTube TV platform seamlessly.  

But is YouTube TV not a substantial enough leap into the streaming world for the league? Their reported hopes are to add a new streaming offering to a media rights package that includes traditional providers, and YouTube TV may not differentiate itself enough for them to warrant its addition.  


The clock is ticking for the NBA, with less than a year left to enter a new agreement. It will undoubtably be exciting to see where the league ends up, and how it changes the viewing experience for fans everywhere.