That’s according to CNBC and the Wall Street Journal, which both reported that Amazon and Apple are in a biding war for NBA rights are heating up even before it has formally started. Likewise, NBC Sports plans to make a major push for NBA rights against the existing partners, Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery.
Amazon doesn’t just want a few local games. Instead, the online retail giant is shooting to air both local and national games, according to the Wall Street Journal. This comes as many NBA teams could be looking for new TV homes for local broadcasts as Bally Sports TV contracts come up. Amazon hopes to be a one-stop shop for both local games, as well as nationally aired games like it offers with Thursday Night NFL games.
Amazon already streams NBA games in Brazil, a partnership it would like to expand into new areas, including the U.S.
This comes as the Wall Street Journal reports that ESPN and TNT, which are owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, are looking to air fewer NBA games. This could open up the other games to become streaming exclusives on Apple TV or Amazon.
Sports have increasingly played a key role with numerous streaming services. The NFL moved Thursday Night Football to Amazon. MLS moved all their games to Apple TV+, and College Football is coming to Peacock this fall. Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max just launched its sports tier, which carries the same NBA and MLB games that run on TNT and TBS.
Formal talks for the new NBA TV rights won’t start until April 2024, but plans are already being made on all sides. Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery’s current contract runs through the 2024-2025 season. That apparently hasn’t stopped what appear to be preliminary talks between different groups.
Neither Apple or Amazon were available for comment.