May 28, 2024


Josh Hart of the New York Knicks and Tyrese Maxey of the Philadelphia 76ers challenge for the ball during an NBA Playoff game

Josh Hart of the New York Knicks and Tyrese Maxey of the Philadelphia 76ers challenge for the ball during an NBA Playoff game
Photo: Tim Nwachukwu (Getty Images)

Warner Bros Discovery stock hit a 52-week low on Tuesday after a Wall Street Journal report suggested the media giant might lose out on a bid to continue airing National Basketball Association games. Swooping in for the steal would be NBC, whose parent company Comcast might pony up as much as $2.5 billion a year to air regular-season and playoff games.

Warner Bros Discovery stock fell nearly 9.7% Tuesday, one of the worst performances among S&P 500 companies. The stock is down almost 35% for the year, also among the worst in the S&P.

It seemed like things were going so well just a short while ago. During a February earnings call, Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav took a moment to update investors on where things stood with the company’s negotiations to continue broadcasting National Basketball Association games. Its TNT network’s NBA on TNT and Inside the NBA broadcast coverage is a cornerstone of the American basketball media landscape.

“We have a strong, positive 40-year relationship with the NBA,” he said. “And in terms of our NBA rights, we are now fully engaged in renewal discussions and they are constructive and productive.”

But it seems like NBC’s bid might be more constructive and productive. WBD has the chance to match NBC’s offer, but that would be at least double the current $1.2 billion it is reportedly paying the NBA. Like ABC, which appears set to retain its broadcast rights, and unlike WBD, NBC can offer prime-time network TV games. As the market for linear TV continues to shrink, sports have become increasingly important as a way to keep customers.



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