The NBA may find a new streaming partner when the league’s deal with WarnerMedia’s Turner Sports concludes at the end of the 2024-2025 season. HBO Max, a streaming service owned by WarnerMedia, is looking to bolster its live sports portfolio by adding live NBA games to the platform, according to a new report from SportTechie.
While speaking at SportsPro OTT Summit USA at Citi Field on Wednesday, Peter Scott, WarnerMedia’s VP of emerging media and innovation, told SportTechie:
“It might be a destination down the road to put NBA games on HBO Max, I think there’s no question about it.” He continued: “If we can work a deal out where the cable operators are cool with us doing that, I think you have to look at that as a potential place. And we’ll have to pay some incremental amount to be able to distribute on HBO Max.”
Recently, Turner Sports and HBO Max secured the rights to U.S. Soccer for 8 years, with sources saying the deal is worth around $200 million per year. That deal will bring over 20 U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team matches per year to HBO Max, which will be one of the platform’s biggest ventures in the world of live sports. NHL games will also stream on HBO Max as part of the league’s 7-year deal with WarnerMedia.
Scott recognizes the potential of adding more sports to HBO Max but it could be a hurdle with cable operators. He explained the following to SportsTechie:
“What we want to do with HBO Max is, we want to put live sports on it,” Scott said. “There may be a scenario where we go back to our partners with the cable operators and say ‘Hey, do you mind if we put this on HBO Max?’”
If the platform is able to secure streaming rights to the NBA, HBO Max could introduce new technologies similar to Amazon’s X-Ray, which lets fans interact with Thursday Night Football, or include e-commerce options. While discussing what that would look like on HBO Max, Scott stated:
“Will there be overlays that you can turn on and off, kind of like an Amazon X-ray?” He continued: “Or if LeBron [James] is streaming on our network, and he’s got an awesome pair of sneakers, I would love to just go bing-bing [and] I can buy it.”
On a national level, the NBA does not have a main-streaming partner for its broadcasts. Many fans watch out-of-market games via NBA League Pass, which has been reduced by 80% for the remainder of the season. On a local level, 16 NBA teams reached a digital rights agreement with Sinclair’s Bally Sports, which will allow fans to stream in-market games within their team’s territory.