Apple has “expressed interest” in acquiring NBA streaming rights, says a new report from CNBC. Amazon and NBC Sports are also reportedly interested in the rights. NBC is interested in acquiring the rights after a 20-year period without them.
NBCUniversal’s bid would allow it to air playoff games on the NBC network, with some regular season games exclusive to the Peacock streaming service. NBC once had the rights to the NBA until Disney and Turner Sports purchased them more than 20 years ago.
The NBA can’t begin formal negotiations with companies other than Warner Bros. Discovery and Disney before April 2024 unless those parties waive their exclusive negotiation rights. Disney is expected to bid to keep NBA games on ESPN and ABC.
The report did not indicate what type of deal Apple is interested in.
The CNBC report indicates that the NBA could create two packages for bidders, splitting content for three or four partners between streaming and traditional broadcast TV.
The NBA bidding news comes as Apple works to expand its sports coverage on its Apple TV+ streaming service. The company over the last few years has signed deals with Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer.