Adam Silver at his annual press conference at the 2022 NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland, Ohio.
Jason Miller via Getty Images

Has NBC Already Defeated TNT For Next NBA Media Rights?

In the game that's played outside the NBA arena, NBC Sports may already be the big winner.

At least, that's what Bill Simmons of The Ringer seems to think.

Now, for a little background, the NBA is in the middle of contract negotiations on its next media rights deal. Disney-owned ESPN/ABC will continue to own league broadcasting rights. But those networks will have to share it. As relayed by Hoops Wire, Amazon Prime is expected to serve as a streaming partner, just as it does with NFL games.

But also, NBC is making a serious run to replace Warner Bros. Discovery-owned TNT as the third broadcast/streaming partner for the NBA. Simmons strongly suggested it's already a done deal.

"One of the funniest things ever is that we're all pretending that the TV deal wasn't done like a week and a half ago," Simmons said on his podcast Monday. "I think it's done. I think Warner [Bros. Discovery] already lost it. And I don't know why we're waiting until after the playoffs, maybe that's how they have to do it. But it's a wrap. NBC's getting it. I'm just telling you."

Per The Wall Street Journal, NBC is looking to air two primetime games a week during the NBA season, as well as additional games on weekends. The NBC package would also involve select streaming rights.

TNT has been a much-praised NBA broadcast partner through the years, particularly when it comes to its Inside the NBA studio show featuring Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O'Neal and host Ernie Johnson. That show would be no more, per reports.

NBC Sports os reportedly willing to pay $2.5 billion per year for NBA rights. Warner Bros. Discovery doesn't want to go quite that high, some have said. And those people apparently are correct.

NBC broadcast NBA games first from 1955-62, then again from 1990-2002, before losing the right to televise games to ESPN/ABC and Turner Sports.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has stayed mum on the topic during negotiations, but he made it clear previously that changes could be on the way.