Nine has made a deal with the National Basketball League, giving them rights to broadcast games both on free-to-air and digital channels, as well as a cut of profits in exchange for managing sponsorship and ad sales.
As of October 11, 9GO! will screen two games per round. 9Now, Nine’s broadcast video on demand (BVOD) platform will have live simulcast rights for the 9GO! games and will offer every game on a catch-up service for seven days after being aired, no matter which network has the live broadcast rights.
Fox and the NBL are in the final stages of making a deal for the remaining matches to be run on Fox Sports.
The deal is about more than just broadcasting rights as Nine will act as the marketing arm for the sport as a part of a revenue sharing agreement. This deal mirrors one that Nine had made with Netball Australia in 2016, giving the network the responsibility of securing sponsorship and selling advertising spots during the game.
Nine’s director of sport, Tom Malone, commented on the arrangement, saying “Larry [Kestelman] and his team have recognised the importance of free-to-air as a platform to grow the sport and the way the deal has been structured up front.
“It’s one of the first times that we’ve placed the value against the spectrum of a free-to-air broadcaster in lieu of a rights or production requirement on Nine,
“This is another innovation in sports rights in terms of how we’ve structured the relationship and also there’s probably – without getting into the finer details – there’s some things in there in terms of the commercial partnerships between Nine and basketball that make it a stronger alignment and an evolution of the agreement we have with netball.”
Larry Kestleman, NBL’s owner, reflected on how the deal helped the sport.
“We’ve gone on a journey over three years.
“We’ve actually grown our attendance by over 50% over that period to now get to the point where our total venues are actually at capacity point.
“Our average was close to 90% of capacity across venues,”
“The sport itself is now in very very good shape, however we recognised from day one that we need strong media partners and exposing the sport to as many participants and the grassroots, and the people that love it is important.”
As a part of the deal, Nine will also produce a weekly half hour basketball show, most likely running on a Sunday morning.
Nine’s director of commercial partnerships and affiliates, Ian Patterson, had hoped that more basketball competitions could be broadcast in the coming years, but wants to focus on building the commercial strategy for the current deal first.
Tom Monlone forecast that ad sales will be good, but didn’t put down any figures, saying “We are obviously confident that the structure we put in place with Larry and his team is a success even before we’ve had play.
“What we want to do is grow the sport and the best place to grow it is the spot we put it in.
“We’ll support it with all our other assets and then we’ve obviously got the ability to move it around as well and to give it an even more prominent placing,
“We’re confident with the forecasting we’ve done, we are confident with the return it’s going to deliver to advertisers.”