Posts Tagged ‘Michael Jordan’

The History of the NBA and its TV Rights

Monday, April 28th, 2014

nba logo     tv logo

The National Basketball Association has a rich history of growth since their first television contract in the 50’s. One piece of quantitive data to represent this development is television rights deals. When we examine this information we see how the amount of money involved in the network and cable contracts has increased with each contract. This growth is consistent and exponential.

One important differentiation to understand is between “network” and “cable” television. Network television has been around longer and is delivered to homes through radio waves. Cable television was a later invention that came to surface around the 80’s. Cable TV essentially un-monopolized the network television market allowing for more viewer choice.

As the name implies, it is delivered to homes via cable. For purposes of this blog we will avoid redundancy by just talking about “network” television. The network and cable contracts both show similar trends. The network deals were between the NBA and networks such as ABC,NBC, and CBS.

celtics v lakersBird, Magic, and JordanLBJ

The NBA’s first “network” television contract was in the 1953-1954 season for $39,000 .  In the 1973-1974 season the contract ballooned to a 3-year contract worth $27 million dollars.  An explanation for this could be the NBA’s dramatic increase in popularity with the domination of players such as Bill Russell and Wilt The Stilt Chamberlin in the 60’s.

Another large jump in revenue was between the 1986-1990 and 1990-1994 contracts. The contract value went from $173 to $601 million. This can be equated by the phenomenal marketability of key players and teams such as Magic Johnson and the Lakers, Larry Bird and the Celtics and the emergence of a young Chicago Bulls star named Michael Jordan. If we were to name all of the influential players of the 80’s, by itself the list would greatly exceed our 250 word minimum blog!

The NBA’s current network contract was signed in 2008 and is the longest and priciest TV contract in the league’s history: 8 years and $7.44 billion . The forefathers helped grow the league into a powerhouse and current star players such as LeBron James continue to elevate the status of the league. However, the increase in talent and media coverage makes it difficult to see the ceiling in terms of NBA TV rights growth.

NBA Basketball

One last important point to make: The NBA has a large global marketplace. It is currently broadcasted in 215 countries. None of the figures we discussed included data beyond the United States.

 

 

 

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