According to a new report, Apple is interested in obtaining the NBA streaming package. Apple is one of several companies with an interest in obtaining the rights, along with Amazon and NBC Sports, with NBCUniversal showing a particular interest in repurchasing NBA games.
Multiple companies, including Apple, want exclusive streaming rights to NBA games
Apple has already made its mark in the sports world with MLS Season Pass and MLB Friday Night Baseball, but it is anticipated that it could expand into other sports as well. The corporation previously exited negotiations to license NFL Sunday Ticket, but it appears that it has turned its attention to the NBA now.
In a new report, CNBC states that Apple and Amazon have “expressed interest to the NBA in buying carved-out streaming packages,” citing people familiar with the matter. Amazon and NBA have an agreement that allows the tech company to stream its games in Brazil.
NBA rights were previously held by NBC until they were acquired by Disney and Turner Sports more than 20 years ago. According to people familiar with the situation, formal negotiations with non-incumbent bidders cannot begin until Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns Turner Sports, and Disney agree to renounce their exclusive negotiating windows, which expire in April 2024.
Warner Bros. Discovery’s interest in the NBA is murkier. CEO David Zaslav said in November, “We don’t have to have the NBA.”
In exchange for a contract, NBCUniversal wants to be able to broadcast postseason games on the NBC network while keeping some regular-season contests exclusively for the Peacock streaming service.
An NBA spokesperson confirmed no talks have taken place with NBCUniversal at this time over national rights while adding the league has had “a longtime relationship with Comcast/NBA as a previous NBA national TV rightsholder and through many of our teams’ partnerships with NBC Sports regional sports networks.”
Amazon may be a better choice for the NBA because it already has streaming rights for games broadcast in Brazil. Additionally, Amazon has demonstrated that it is less demanding when negotiating contracts, which will make Apple’s bid more challenging.