The National Basketball Association kicked off its 75th season Oct. 19 with a doubleheader featuring four of the top teams in the league.
As the NBA season kicks off in full force, here is a look at some of the publicly traded companies that could get a boost from the new season.
1. Madison Square Garden Sports: Publicly traded Madison Square Garden Sports MSGS is the owner of several sports teams including the NBA’s New York Knicks. The company also owns the NHL’s New York Rangers.
Sportico ranks the Knicks first in NBA team valuation at $5.42 billion. The team is one of three, along with the Golden State Warriors ($5.21 billion) and Los Angeles Lakers ($5.14 billion), to be valued at more than five billion dollars. Forbes values the Knicks at $5 billion, also coming in first on its list.
The Knicks have lost 70% of their games in the past six seasons and won only one NBA Playoff series since 2000. Despite the many losing records, the team still generates a ton of fans at games and gets huge viewership on television.
The team finished with a 41-31 record last year, fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks lost in the first round of the NBA Playoffs last year. A strong finish by the team in back-to-back seasons could continue to boost the valuation and revenue of the Knicks.
2. Madison Square Garden Entertainment: The owner of the namesake Madison Square Garden is Madison Square Garden Entertainment MSGE.
The company owns the arena that will enjoy a financial boost from the return of fans to Rangers games. MSGE is also the parent company of MSG Network and MSG+, two media channels that air Knicks games and other sports content.
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3. Disney: The NBA has a long-standing media rights relationship with the Walt Disney Co DIS thanks to airing on ESPN and ABC for the last 23 consecutive years. ESPN is reportedly paying $1.4 billion annually for the rights to NBA games that air on its various media networks.
Disney signed a nine-year extension in 2014 that is up in 2025. Reports are that the NBA is shopping around for a new $75 billion deal, up from the previous $24 billion price tag, to start the 2025 season. Disney will have to make a big decision soon as to how much it loves its NBA games.
4. AT&T: Similar to Disney, AT&T Inc T will likely be counting on strong viewership figures from NBA games to justify the large price tag it pays for media rights and if it will shell out more on a renewal.
AT&T pays $1.2 billion annually through its Turner Sports segment. Turner’s relationship with the NBA has lasted for decades as well.
5. Coinbase: Cryptocurrency platform Coinbase Global Inc COIN announced a partnership with the NBA on the day the league started the 2021-22 season. The partnership was the first league-wide cryptocurrency deal for the NBA.
“We’re excited to announce that as of today we are the official crypto platform of the NBA, WNBA, NBA2KLeague and USA Basketball," Coinbase tweeted.
The NBA is projecting $10 billion in revenue for the 2021-22 season and could see an increase in sponsorship revenue thanks to the late Coinbase deal.
For Coinbase, the partnership could bring new customers to its platform, given the strong viewership and brand awareness of the NBA.
6. Endeavor Group: April IPO Endeavor Group Holdings EDR is best known as the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and WME. The company also has some interests in the success of the NBA and its players.
Endeavor acquired a stake in BDA Sports, led by Bill Duffy. BDA Sports is a sports agency that represents Luka Doncic, Deandre Ayton, Zach LaVine, Goran Dragic and RJ Barrett. The agency represents over 130 NBA, WNBA and international basketball players.
Endeavor Streaming helps many sports leagues, including the NBA. The OTT service provider acquired NeuLion in 2019, which brought in the NBA as a customer. Endeavor helps power the NBA League Pass and is the official streaming partner outside the U.S. for a sport that continues to grow internationally.
Endeavor announced the acquisition of Mailman Group earlier this year. The digital strategy and marketing company counts the NBA as a client.
7. Take-Two Interactive: The top-selling annual NBA video game is the NBA2K series from Take-Two Interactive Software TTWO. The “2022” version of the game featured several cover stars in honor of the 75th anniversary, including Luka Doncic, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Durant.
While video games saw strong sales during the pandemic, several sports titles were down as fans weren’t as engaged, with leagues playing less games and not having fans in attendance.
In September, “NBA2K22” was the third bestselling game, trailing only “Madden 22” and “FIFA 22,” two other sports titles.
8. Sinclair Broadcast Group: Media company Sinclair Broadcast Group SBGI acquired the regional sports networks formerly owned by Fox FOX in a purchase deal with Disney. The company has the rights to air many NHL teams locally throughout the country. The company has also considered launching a direct-to-consumer streaming platform.
NBA teams that Sinclair airs on its various regional sports networks include the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic and Miami Heat.
Strong viewership for games this season could boost the media company’s financials and also help speed up streaming platform talks.
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