What’s the Future of NBA Revenue?
Today, we live in the era of local broadcast revenues. We’ve seen the proliferation of the Regional Sports Network — known in the industry as RSNs — some of which are owned by the most profitable teams. These franchises can now cut out the middleman and generate even more revenue. The Lakers, for example, recently inked a deal with Time Warner Cable to build their own network, a deal reportedly valued at $3 billion over 20 years (Time Warner disputes this number).
This largesse is one of the central factors that have small-market teams concerned. Markets like Memphis, New Orleans, Milwaukee and Charlotte simply can’t compete with those numbers, even if every eyeball between the Outer Banks and the Appalachian Trail decided that the Bobcats were essential viewing 82 times a season.
But television is a nimble dynamic platform, one whose contours are constantly being reshaped. What if the preeminence of the regional sports network is about to become a dinosaur? What if the way human beings watch games is about to radically change — a process that’s already started with NBA League Pass broadband? What if we witness the death of the set-up unit, as some smart folks are predicting? Will we live in a world where you stream a game on demand on the platform of your choice — your 52-inch LED, your Apple TV, your smartphone — and pay 1.29 for the privilege?