Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) has landed a broadcast rights deal with ESPN, Foxtel and News Corporation worth more than AUS$45 million (US$33.1 million), according to reports in the country.
In this broadcast deal, the three-year agreement sees ESPN, Foxtel, and the latter’s streaming service, Kayo Sports, air every fixture, as well as the finals of the domestic basketball tournament. Foxtel has confirmed that it will also stream two games per round on its streaming service’s free tier, Kayo Freebies.
In this lucrative deal with News Corp Australia, the media giant will provide dedicated reporters, game analysis and additional content for the NBL.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), the league is also aiming to sign a free-to-air partner, with Ten and Viceland, an Australian free-to-air television channel owned by the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS).
The tournament’s expiring domestic broadcast deals had been an advertising profit-share contract between the networks and the NBL, commissioner Jeremy Loeliger has the new deal that will ensure the league can deliver financial distributions to its ten clubs for the first time.
Larry Kestelman, the Executive Director of the National Basketball League, said, “This is the biggest deal in the history of the NBL. It is a big win for basketball fans and will result in a huge uplift in the coverage and exposure of our competition across a variety of major media networks and digital platforms.“
“On behalf of the clubs, we sought, identified and secured true media partners who we felt would really invest in the league and align with our ambition to take the coverage of our game, in Australia and New Zealand, to the next level,” Kestelman added.
Kylie Watson-Wheeler, ESPN-National Geographic head of APAC, said, “The National Basketball League has become a feature of ESPN programming and we are thrilled to extend the partnership, with an expanded rights package for a further three seasons.”
The Foxtel Group’s Chief Executive, Patrick Delany, added, “We have a long and rich history with the NBL and over the years we have seen the players, coaches, clubs and national participation in the sport go from strength to strength. Our partnership with ESPN allows us to use the growing scale of our Foxtel and Kayo sports platform to significantly build audience engagement.“