ESPN and Foxtel extend broadcast contract with NBL for 3 more years

The National Basketball League (NBL) has extended its broadcast partnership with ESPN for a further three seasons as part of an expanded television rights package. The deal sees every game of the upcoming NBL seasons and finals live on ESPN via Foxtel and its sports streaming service Kayo.

The broadcast deal comes with an expansion of television and digital rights, with the vast majority of matches exclusive to ESPN. Foxtel will also be streaming two games from every round on Kayo Freebies.

Broadcast rights for the NBL have been with ESPN and SBS since July 2019 after Nine pulled out of a three year contract after only one year, and Fox Sports passed on the offer to share the rights with Nine. The NBL last year extended its naming rights contract with Hungry Jack’s for a further three years.

According to Foxtel, TV audiences of NBL grew 72% during the past six seasons between 2014 and 2020. Foxtel Group chief executive officer, Patrick Delany, said Australian sports fans want to follow and watch the best in sport and there is no doubt audience interest in the NBL is at a tipping point.

“We have a long and rich history with the NBL and over the years have seen the players, coaches, clubs and national participation in the sport go from strength to strength. Our partnership with ESPN allows us to use the growing scale of our Foxtel and Kayo sports platform to significantly build audience engagement.

“With 2.4 million households now watching sport on Foxtel and streaming Kayo, the Foxtel Group provides the largest audience of sports fans in the country. As a key broadcast partner of ESPN in Australia, we are pleased to be bringing all NBL games of this world-class competition to fans live and on demand this season.”

This means all 140 NBL regular season games will now be available on ESPN for the first time.

ESPN will air all but two games each round exclusively, and also have all key matches throughout the NBL Finals series exclusively. Games two and three of each Semi Final series and game three onwards in the Grand Final series will be live and exclusive to ESPN.

NBL owner and executive chairman, Larry Kestelman, said the deal with ESPN and Foxtel Group was a win for basketball fans and would result in a significant uplift in coverage and exposure across a variety of major media networks and digital platforms.

“I want to thank ESPN and Foxtel Group for their continued support, and for having the belief and confidence in us as a competition and organisation,” he said.

“With more than 1.1 million people playing basketball nationally each year, our sport is exploding in popularity and we cannot wait to work together to attract and entertain a legion of new members, fans and supporters, and show them what our league has to offer.”

The new deal comes as the NBL introduces a new Tasmanian franchise, Tasmania JackJumpers. NBA star Matthew Dellavedova’s return to Melbourne United is also likely to increase interest in the competition.

The 2021-22 NBL season commences October 2021.


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