Apple has started to invest heavily in live sports, including MLB Friday Night Baseball and MLS Season Pass. A new report from The Information today says that while the NBA is shopping its media rights around, Apple is still undecided on whether it will make a bid for those rights.
Specifically, the NBA wants to sell a national streaming-only package, alongside two national TV deals. The report says that the NBA is looking to “triple its current revenue” from TV deals.
While Amazon and Google would acquire streaming rights, the NBA has two existing partners for TV deals: Walt Disney’s ESPN and Warner Bros. Discovery. Both of these companies, however, are looking to reduce spending and have suggested cutting sports spending as a way to do that.
The trillion-dollar elephant in the room, however, is Apple. For the streaming package, The Information reports that both Google and Amazon are the two companies that have expressed interest so far. Apple is reportedly undecided on whether it will make a bid. This follows an earlier report from CNBC, which suggested Apple may be interested in NBA rights.
A streaming-only package opens the door for tech companies to bid on rights, people said. Interest expressed by Google’s YouTube and Amazon raises the possibility that some NBA games could be available on Prime Video, YouTube—or even Apple if the iPhone maker decides to bid. (Amazon already has some experience on this front: Last October, it started streaming live NBA games in Brazil as part of a multiyear deal with the league.)
Apple was notably involved in the negotiations for NFL Sunday Ticket streaming rights, but it lost out on that package to Google.
Apple entering the fray and making a bid for NAB streaming rights would likely force Amazon and Google to reconsider how much they’re willing to spend. Whether or not that actually happens remains to be seen, but Apple services boss Eddy Cue is a big NBA fan…
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