ESPN Africa, the regional arm of the international sports broadcaster owned by media giant Walt Disney Co., has secured a multi-year expanded rights deal with North American basketball’s NBA.
The deal will see more than 180 regular season and playoff games each campaign aired across the continent.
It begins with the ongoing 2022-23 NBA season, which tipped off last month (October 18), and includes all Conference Finals and Finals games.
As part of the agreement, ESPN Africa will this season broadcast 45 weekend regular season games live and in primetime on its ESPN2 linear channel.
The league’s 'NBA Saturdays and NBA Sundays presented by NBA 2k23' initiative of which those will be a part aims to schedule weekend games in primetime in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
The broadcaster’s linear channel ESPN2 will also air the NBA Christmas Day and NBA All-Star games, the Play-In Tournament, the weekly magazine show NBA Action, the NBA Draft, and the multi-game live look-in program NBA 360.
In addition, the channel will show 30 classic games each season, US-produced studio programs including SportsCenter and NBA Today, and localized NBA programming.
Elsewhere, the broadcaster’s website espn.com will feature original content covering NBA Africa events across the continent, including youth and elite basketball development programming and NBA player and legend appearances.
Kornelia Semmelink, NBA Africa's senior director of global media partnerships, said: "ESPN Africa airing a record number of NBA games and providing more locally relevant content to our fans underscores the momentum for the NBA in Africa and will help us continue to grow the game across the continent.
"Through this expanded collaboration, we will make the excitement of the NBA more accessible to fans in Africa on the devices and platforms they use most, including in primetime."
The deal adds to ESPN Africa’s growing portfolio of sports rights, which includes American leagues the NFL, NHL, and MLB, US-based mixed martial arts series the Professional Fighters League, Australia’s National Rugby League, electric motor racing series Extreme E, and Basketball Africa League.
Kyle De Klerk, director of sports commercial and business at the Walt Disney Co. Africa, said: "As the home of American sports in Africa, ESPN is committed to showcasing the very best in premier sporting content through a uniquely diversified and exciting portfolio of sporting leagues to audiences across Africa.
"This extended broadcast agreement with NBA Africa expands on this promise, and the exhilarating new programming on offer will give fans across the continent even more opportunity to share in the passion and excellence of this renowned league.”
Commenting on the deal, Peter Scrimgeour, senior analyst at GlobalData Sport, said: "NBA’s expanded broadcast deal with ESPN Africa is a fantastic result for both parties.
"ESPN is synonymous with American sports, so more NBA content strengthens its portfolio in Africa. For the NBA, the broadcast of more games and local content supports the league’s wider strategic plan for basketball’s growth in the continent, where it aims to expand its presence, have deeper engagement with players and fans, unearth the next superstars, and grow media rights and commercial revenue."