This week, the NBA made the decision to suspend the rest of this season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. While this is an obvious letdown to those working in the League and to fans, media companies will also be taking a hit.
Michael Nathanson, of analyst firm MoffettNathanson, estimates that Disney stands to lose $306 million in earnings and AT&T will likely lose $168 million in earnings for the games that would have aired on Disney’s ESPN and AT&T’s TNT.
A report from Broadcasting Cable shared that it’s still unknown whether the networks will have to pay for the canceled games that won’t be airing on the networks.
“The answer to this question depends on each underlying contract and the definition of that contract. It is too soon to make a declarative statement as many of the networks appear to be reviewing their options. We also don’t know yet if networks have insurance to mitigate this risk,” Nathanson said.
For their part, the networks are supporting the League’s decision in official statements.
“We have a long-standing relationship with the NBA and we’re supportive of the actions being taken to help protect the health and well-being of everyone involved. We’ll partner closely with league officials to evaluate and determine next steps at the appropriate time,” AT&T’s Turner Sports said in a statement.
For those questioning whether they’ll receive a refund for an NBA League Pass subscription, that still hasn’t been decided either. This is the statement currently on the NBA website.
The NBA is suspending game play until further notice. At this time we are evaluating the impact to your League Pass subscriptions and will provide more information as soon as we can. We apologize for the inconvenience.
We’ll continue to keep an eye out for updated and will share information as we learn more.
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