Should the NBA go all-in on streaming?

With a new TV deal on the horizon, the NBA is at a crossroads.

The NBA is arguably more popular than ever, with viewership up 19% last season.

With TV rights up for renewal in 2025, the league faces a big question: How deep should it go into streaming?

The NBA last struck a deal…

… with Turner Sports and ESPN in 2016 worth $24B. For the next one, the league is reportedly seeking $75B, per Front Office Sports.

But cable ain’t what it used to be:

  • US households paying for cable are down ~30% in the last decade.
  • Hoops fans have shown an appetite for streaming, with League Pass subscribers up 30% YoY.

The trend raises the question: Does it make sense to double down on cable with cord cutting on the rise?

Complicating matters further…

… Sports consumption has major generational differences:

  • 53% of Gen Zers consider themselves sports fans, compared to 63% of all adults and 69% of millennials.
  • Among Gen Zers, 39% say they never watch live sports, compared to 28% of all adults and 20% of millennials.

While streaming is more popular with younger audiences, watching sports is clearly more popular with older ones.

Our guess? The NBA will land somewhere in the middle, like the NFL and MLB. They struck deals with streamers for select games but still air many on cable.

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