Why ESPN Thinks it Can Sell NBA Games on the Web Without Breaking Up its Pay TV Bundle

ESPN is going to pay a bunch of money to show pro basketball games on TV. But it is also going to show pro basketball games to people over the Web, without requiring them to pay for ESPN on TV. […] it sounds like some of the details about ESPN’s plans to sell NBA games over the Web, directly to consumers, haven’t been worked out yet. Since the service most likely won’t appear for two years, it’s got a little time to work it out. […] Bear in mind that the NBA already sells a direct-to-consumer digital subscription itself, even though it has deals with ESPN and Turner. Its “League Pass” service starts at $149 a season, and also offers “out-of-market” games — a deal that’s supposed to protect the value of local teams’ TV rights deals. […] while this is a new idea for ESPN, it has already said it’s interested in doing this. For starters, this is what ESPN said it might do when it bought the TV and digital rights to Major League Soccer (MLS) games earlier this year. – Peter Kafka,Re/code
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