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Apple might bid on NBA streaming rights for Apple TV Plus

Published Feb 14th, 2023 7:07AM EST
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Image: Apple

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For more than 20 years, Disney has owned NBA rights. Starting next year, National Basketball Association could find a new home as NBC hopes to make an aggressive bid to bring back the league. Still, at the same time, Apple and Amazon have also expressed interest in buying rights to the NBA.

The report by CNBC cites sources familiar with the matter. Currently, Amazon already has a deal with NBA allowing it to stream games in Brazil. Apple, on the other hand, wants to buy carved-out streaming packages to expand its sports offering.

Currently, there’s no formal discussion as Warner Bros and Disney have to agree to waive their exclusive negotiation windows, which end in April 2024. Since the Mickey Mouse company has the rights until the end of the 2024-2025 season, it’s still very early in the game, as NBA could choose to stay with Disney for a few more years.

That said, CNBC believes this possibility is unlikely, as NBA wants to “carve out one or two new packages for bidders, pushing their media rights partner from two to either three or four.” With that, NBC, Amazon, or Apple could get a few exclusive games, playoffs, etc.

Over the past months, Apple has been reported trying to score as many sports leagues as it can get. While it has lost the NFL Sunday Ticket package, the company secured the Super Bowl Halftime Show in a multiyear agreement.

In January, the company was reported to enter the bidding war for the Premier League rights. Since Apple already secured the Major League Baseball and, more recently, the Major Soccer League, we can have a glimpse of what the Cupertino firm expects from its sports deals.

For example, Apple and MSL will collaborate on marketing, as the Apple TV logo will appear on every MSL team jersey, apart from the international availability. The season pass is already available for subscribers, and it could hint at what Apple would offer to the Premier League and NBA deal once it can bid.

BGR will keep reporting on Apple’s efforts to bring new sports deals to its Apple TV Plus streaming.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.

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