More 'innovation in sports rights' as Nine and NBL ink new deal

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 17 August 2018

Channel Nine and the National Basketball League (NBL) will now be "joined at the hip commercially" as both parties revealed a new three-year rights deal.

The move sees a similar structure to Nine's current broadcast deal with Netball Australia, taking on a revenue sharing model.

Two games will air each weekend on the 9GO! multichannel, with the deal also covering digital rights. It will also include a live simulcast of the games aired on 9GO!, along with catch-up rights to all NBL games throughout the season following their conclusion.

Under the deal, Nine and the NBL will work together to commercialise the advertising inventory and broadcast monetisation of all matches across the regular season and finals series.

"This is another innovation in sports rights in terms of the relationship and there are some commercial elements between Nine and basketball that make it a stronger alignment than the one we previously had with netball," Nine director of sport Tom Malone said on a media call yesterday.

"The NBL has recognised the importance of broadcasting on free to air to grow the sport and the way the deal has been structured upfront is one of the first times that we have placed a value against the free to air spectrum in lieu of rights or production requirements from Nine."

An incentive model for both parties will also be factored into the deal, designed to introduce new revenue streams.

Nine would not reveal a hard value of the deal, with Malone adding that the way that the deal is structured it is all about progressing the game forward and looking at "upsides for both parties".

"It's not working on a baseline value, it's working off how we can grow this together, where the extra revenue streams are and how can we all share in that," he says.

"Live sport still has the strong capacity to aggregate eyeballs in one place at one time and that's why live sport is so important to free to air."

Over the past three years, NBL boss Larry Kestelman has grown attendance by 50% with venues nearly at capacity for most games averaging around 90%.

Malone revealed Nine was also looking to create a 30 minute TV analysis program, develop to support the games and provide further opportunities for advertisers.

"In regards to the clients we are speaking to at the moment, the conversation is about informing them of what assets Nine has got and what the NBL has got, and creating a solution for each of them that sees a mixture of traditional broadcast benefits being provided, while integrated through the lines and the competition itself," Malone says.

The Hungry Jack’s, which renewed its naming rights sponsorship deal last year, NBL 2018/19 season commences on Thursday, 11 October.

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