ESPN Press Release:
ESPN, ABC and the National Basketball Association (NBA) will significantly expand their global relationship with ESPN’s most comprehensive digital rights package negotiated with any major professional sports league and enhanced television coverage in an eight-year extension beginning in 2008-09, it was announced today by George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports and David Stern, NBA Commissioner. The new pact will also feature more exclusivity in the postseason on ESPN, expanded television and digital media rights for ESPN International.
Under the terms of the new deal, the NBA will deliver content for 17 ESPN platforms, including: ABC, ABC HD, ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN2, ESPN2 HD, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, ESPN International, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN360.com, ESPN Mobile Publishing, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPNU and ESPN podcasts. The deal will also cover all new platforms ESPN creates or develops relationships with through the end of the agreement in 2016.
Bodenheimer said: “This agreement sets a new standard - it is the most expansive package of rights we’ve acquired from a major professional league in our 27-year history. We’re thrilled to take a major step forward in our relationship with David Stern and the NBA with this broad, global agreement. The scope of this deal and the new rights we obtained offer us tremendous opportunities to serve NBA fans like never before – in the U.S., around the world, and through any device.”
“We are excited to be extending our relationship with the world’s most successful sports brand,” said Stern. “The digital age is upon us and ESPN has a keen understanding of the ways in which digital access and communication with our fan base will serve to deepen the relationship that has been established through television.”
The ABC Television Network will broadcast a minimum of 15 regular season games beginning on Christmas and continuing on Sunday afternoons starting in January. In addition, the maximum number of regular season appearances on ABC by the league’s top teams has been increased. The postseason on ABC will include a minimum of 15 scheduled games, including the entire best-of-seven NBA Finals. All of ABC’s telecasts will continue to have time-period and broadcast exclusivity.
ESPN and ESPN2 will televise up to 75 regular season games – primarily on Wednesday and Friday nights. ESPN will also televise up to 29 playoff games, feature exclusive television coverage in the Conference Semifinals and showcase exclusive coverage of one of the best-of-seven Conference Finals each year. In addition, ESPN will televise exclusive coverage of the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, the NBA Draft and NBA Draft Lottery each season, and feature coverage of the yearly NBA Pre-Draft Camp via ESPNU.
Also included in the deal are expanded cut-in and in-progress highlight rights to enhance ESPN’s news and information programming.
ESPN’s unprecedented digital rights now include:
- Content across all media, including future platforms;
- Ability 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;
- Use of NBA-licensed content in multi-sport programming;
- Ability to simulcast full NBA games live on ESPN360.com and ESPN Mobile TV;
- Continued development of GameCast, fantasy games and interactive applications, as well as ESPN content and programming integration into EA Sports video games;
- Use of NBA-licensed content in user-personalized features on ESPN platforms.
Fans are consuming sports in new ways and the NBA and ESPN are digital media leaders. For example: this past season fans watched NBA-related video on ESPN.com an average of four million times per week; during the playoffs, an average of more than 1.1 million daily users collectively generated 282 million page views of NBA content on ESPN.com via computers and wireless devices; fans used ESPN.com’s Lottery Mock Draft more than 30 million times; and, major NBA news stories on ESPN.com are read by more than three quarters of a million fans.
The new contract provides extensive new rights for ESPN International for game and studio telecasts to Latin America (South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean), the Middle East, Africa, Oceania (Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands), cruise lines and studio programming to Europe. Highlights:
- Latin America – two games per week during the regular season with an additional 12 Wednesday night games (total of 24 games per season), select playoffs, the All-Star Game and the NBA Finals to Brazil and – for the first time – to the Caribbean;
- Middle East/North Africa – two games per week with an additional 16 Wednesday night games (total of 24 games per season), select playoffs;
- Sub-Saharan Africa – two games per week (Wednesday and Friday), select playoffs, the All-Star Game, All-Star Weekend programming and the NBA Finals;
- Oceania – two games per week (Wednesday and Friday), select playoffs, All-Star Game, weekend All-Star Programming, NBA Finals and NBA Draft;
- Europe – first-time rights to the domestic NBA Fastbreak news and information show;
- expansive digital media rights in ESPN’s regions;
- added flexibility to pick games of local interest throughout all of ESPN’s international networks.
NBA rights are also included for ESPN Radio, ESPN Classic and ESPN Deportes, including:
- Broadcast rights for a minimum of 15 regular-season games, 32 playoff games (including both Conference Finals and the NBA Finals), the NBA All-Star Game and related events, and the NBA Draft;
- Live streaming on ESPNRadio.com;
- Continued satellite radio distribution rights.
- Additional classic games to be televised each week;
- More NBA-themed programming stunts;
- Continued carriage of vintage NBA programming.
- Live simulcast rights for all ESPN and ESPN2 pre-season, regular-season and post-season games;
- SAP rights for all ABC regular-season and post-season games;
- Re-air rights for all seven games of the NBA Finals;
- Enhanced digital media rights for ESPNDeportes.com.
ESPN and ABC have telecast NBA games, playoffs and The Finals in the current NBA television deal since 2002. ABC Sports also broadcast the NBA from 1968 to 1973 and ESPN from 1982-84.
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