Apple is said to be one of several companies that have expressed interest in acquiring a streaming package for the NBA, according to a report from CNBC. Alongside Apple, other potential buyers include Amazon and NBC Sports, with NBC Universal in particular interested in reacquiring NBA games.
The report suggests that NBC Universal is aiming for a deal that would allow it to air playoff games on the NBC network, while some regular season games would be exclusive to its Peacock streaming service. However, there are no specifics regarding what other companies, such as Apple, might be interested in.
It’s worth noting that NBC used to have rights to the NBA, but those rights were purchased over 20 years ago by Disney and Turner Sports. Any negotiations for a new deal would require agreement from both Disney and Turner Sports to waive their exclusive negotiation window, which expires in April 2024. There is a chance that the NBA could choose to extend its contract with Disney and Turner Sports instead of opening the bidding process to outside companies, but it remains to be seen if Apple will have the opportunity to make a bid.
CNBC suggests that the NBA could create two packages for potential bidders, with the content split between traditional TV and streaming, and distributed among three or four partners.
Apple has been actively pursuing sports content in a bid to attract new viewers to its Apple TV+ streaming service. The company has already signed deals with Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer, with MLS games set to be available starting in February for $14.99 per month or $99 per season. Apple’s MLB content premiered last spring with Friday Night Baseball.