NBL eschews rights fee in revenue-sharing deal with Nine
Australia’s National Basketball League will enjoy significant television exposure in the domestic market from next season through a new three-year deal with free-to-air commercial broadcaster Nine Network.
Nine has committed to show two live games per round (on Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm) on its 9GO! channel, and the deal includes digital rights, with a simulcast of the live games on video-on-demand service 9NOW, plus catch-up to rights to all other games regardless of what network they are shown on.
The 2018-19 season starts on 11 October.
The multi-year deal with Nine, a prominent sports broadcaster, is a boost for the NBL, which has only been able to sign one-year free-to-air deals in recent seasons, with public-service networks SBS and ABC having rights in the 2017-18 campaign.
There is no traditional rights fee in the new agreement, and the NBL will handle production, but it includes a revenue-sharing component based on advertising and viewer numbers with Nine and the league to "work together to commercialise the advertising inventory and broadcast monetisation of all matches across the regular season and finals series."
It is reported that the NBL remains in negotiations with established pay-TV partner Fox Sports about showing all games live next season, but no decision has been made on whether to continue with full live coverage on the NBL TV app, for a monthly subscription fee, next season.
The league is looking to capitalise on a spike in its profile resulting from developments such as the Sydney Kings’ signing of Australian star Andrew Bogut (pictured), a former NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors.
Larry Kestelman, the owner and executive director of the NBL, said of the Nine deal: “This is a very exciting announcement for the NBL and Australian basketball. To have a major free-to-air commercial partner in Nine will help take the NBL to a new level and confirm our status as the best league in the world outside of the NBA.“
Tom Malone, Nine’s director of sport, added: “We are thrilled to have Basketball back on Nine and part of the Wide World of Sports family. Larry and the team at NBL have done a terrific job re-building basketball in Australia, and securing some big names for the coming season – it will be great to see Andrew Bogut make his debut for the Sydney Kings.
“Moreover, this signals yet another innovation in sports rights, where the value of Nine’s spectrum has been recognised in lieu of a rights fee and production costs, while Nine has secured exclusive rights to commercialise the broadcast and sponsorship opportunities within and around the game day production, for distribution on Nine, Fox Sports and NBL. We have also structured a commercial partnership beyond the broadcast, to build a business relationship between the NBL and Nine to achieve maximum return for both sporting body and broadcaster in the years ahead."