Could Netflix be the Future of NBA Broadcasts?
- November 3, 2023
- SponsorPulse Staff
As the league eyes a colossal $75 billion deal for the 2025/26 season — a massive uptick from its current $24 billion deal from 2014 — traditional giants like ESPN, NBC, and Warner Bros Discovery are jockeying for position.
In addition, some of the latest rights buyers in sports — namely, Amazon and Apple — have also shown interest in acquiring the rights.
Yet, amid this fierce competition, an unexpected player has thrown its hat into the ring — Netflix.
We leveraged SponsorPulse’s sponsorship intelligence tool to evaluate the potential sponsorship value and implications of a streaming giant becoming the next rightsholders of the NBA.
Live Sports as a ‘Three-Pointer’
Historically, Netflix has steered clear of live sports, publicly expressing concerns over its cost and fragmentation compared to its global-scale entertainment offerings. Nonetheless, recent developments suggest a possible shift in strategy.
In the past, notable successes like F1’s ‘Drive to Survive’ or Michael Jordan’s 'The Last Dance' docuseries have showcased Netflix's prowess in sports-themed content.
These moves have served Netflix as internal validation for a young and sports-passionate audience that is hungry for sports-related content.
However, since Netflix has recently made significant changes to the platform by including ad-supported tiers, a push for NBA rights, and year-round content as a customer retention tool, it may suggest the streaming giant is eying a significant pivot in its strategy.
Tapping a Global Audience
While there are many reasons why a content provider such as Netflix wants to tap into one of the most engaged properties in the world of sports, the potential benefit for the league also strengthens the argument — making this a win-win situation for all parties involved.
In a landscape where major sports leagues like the NFL, MLB, and MLS have embraced streaming partnerships, and given that the NBA has invested resources to extend its global footprint, a deal with a worldwide streaming partner couldn’t be more enticing.
The evolving landscape of media rights in sports is a complex game, and Netflix's entry adds an unexpected twist to the narrative. But, some evidence suggests Netflix is not alone — there are plenty more opportunities for the NBA to shop for a streaming provider.
An Inevitable Shift
Considering the NBA's youthful and digitally-savvy audience, a streaming package seems inevitable — but it doesn’t necessarily have to come from Netflix.
According to SponsorPulse data, users from over-the-top (OTT) and digital streaming platforms emerge as some of the most ardent NBA followers. Platforms such as ESPN Deportes, Fox Deportes, DAZN, NFL Game Pass, and MLB TV boast dedicated audiences actively consuming NBA content.
The synergy between engaged demographics within OTT and streaming could be the golden ticket brands were waiting to make a slam dunk in the evolving world of sports broadcasting.
The NBA's upcoming media rights sale is a pivotal moment for the league and potential broadcast partners.
The streaming service's foray into sports content, coupled with its vast international reach, aligns with the NBA's vision for growth.
But while the shift may come through a tech giant or an established broadcaster, it’s clear that the current model requiring cable subscriptions for the majority of NBA matches makes it very challenging to maintain its appeal to younger fans.
Find Opportunities for Your Brand
To learn more about opportunities in the sponsorships world, create a free SponsorPulse account!
SponsorPulse is your go-to intelligence tool with in-depth insights and data-driven analysis, empowering your brand to make informed decisions in the ever-evolving world of sports sponsorships.