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TNT could still retain NBA television rights?

NBA court logo

Feb 18, 2023; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; The NBA logo on the court at Huntsman Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA reportedly agreed on a new television rights deal on Wednesday, and TNT is not among those that won the bidding. However, the door may not be completely closed just yet.

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, whose company owns TNT Sports, is considering using language in the current contract that may entitle it to match the new deal, according to Andrew Marchand of The Athletic. TNT would likely try to secure Amazon Prime’s share of the new agreement.

Amazon is among three winning bidders in the new deal along with ESPN and NBC. ESPN would retain the NBA Finals as part of the new agreement, while all three platforms would have the rights to playoff games. Amazon Prime would also become the exclusive home of In-Season Tournament games. The total agreement is worth $76 billion over the next 11 seasons.

Many NBA fans do not want to see TNT lose the NBA rights. The biggest reason for that is the success of “Inside the NBA,” though it is possible that one of the new rightsholders could try to hire its personalities. Charles Barkley, however, has claimed he will retire instead of leaving TNT, while Ernie Johnson also appears unlikely to walk away from the network.

Any plan to ensure TNT keeps some share of the NBA does appear to be somewhat far-fetched, but the door is at least slightly open.

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