The Sports Business Journal reports that the NBA will soon give regional sports networks control of local digital rights.
Starting after the NBA All Star Break, the 29 RSNs that carry NBA games will be allowed to “roll out video-on-demand and some broadband services“, and will also have the ability to stream live games locally, though the latter is not expected to occur this season. Several details still have to be hashed out, including whether the services will be offered through “a team’s Web site, the network’s Web site, or both“, and “how many games will be streamed, or which teams and RSNs will stream them.”
The league expects to have “finalized deals with all of our regional sports networks” by the end of December.
Currently, the three other major pro sports leagues control digital rights for all of their teams; this marks the first time any pro sports league has allowed RSNs to control digital rights for individual teams.
The digital rights will not come cheap, as the NBA is asking for “up to 200 advertising spots per month [on RSNs] in exchange for video-on-demand rights,” and “$3,000 a game — close to $250,000 per season — for networks that want to stream live games locally.”
In the past year, the NBA has almost entirely relinquished control of its digital rights. In January, the league signed an agreement giving Turner the right to manage the league’s digital properties — including NBA.com and NBA League Pass.