NBA nets increase in DACH, plateaus in Poland, back on air in Norway

  • DAZN pays over $3.5m per season for NBA rights from 2021-23, up 20 per cent
  • NBA rights fee remains flat in Poland after renewal with NC Plus, from 2021-23
  • Verdens Gang pays nominal fee as NBA regains exposure in Norway

The National Basketball Association has secured a decent increase in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH) and regained exposure in Norway, but saw its rights value stagnate in Poland.

As per its preferred strategy, the NBA renewed its agreements with incumbent broadcasters wherever possible.

In the DACH region, DAZN will pay over $3.5m (€3.1m) per season from 2021-22 to 2022-23, up from just over $3m per season during the previous deal, which ran for six seasons from 2015-16 to 2020-21. This represents an increase of around 20 per cent and reflects the growing popularity of the NBA across the region.

In Poland, the league renewed its deal with pay-television operator NC Plus for two seasons, covering 2021-22 and 2022-23. The deal is worth $1.4m per season – the same as NC Plus paid during its previous three-season deal covering 2019-20 and 2021-22.

In Norway, the NBA struck a late deal with Norwegian media outlet Verdens Gang in December, securing coverage in a country where it has been without a broadcaster in the previous five years.

The two-season deal with VG covers the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons and includes rights to two live NBA games per week, along with highlights, content and analysis. It is understood that VG is paying a fee in the low hundreds of thousands of dollars.

New agreement details

Under the new agreement in DACH, DAZN will show seven regular season games per week, the NBA Playoffs and the NBA Finals. The previous deal between DAZN and the league was for a minimum of five seasons, from 2015-16 to 2019-20, and included an extension dependent on the success of the OTT service.

It is understood that the two parties originally negotiated a three-season extension from 2020-21 to 2022-23, later amending this to a one-season extension covering 2020-21 after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has been followed by the latest two-season extension at an increased fee.

By retaining NBA rights for a further two seasons, DAZN solidified its US sports portfolio in DACH, which already includes the National Football League (2020-22) and the National Hockey League (from 2021-22 to 2024-25).

In Poland, NC Plus will have rights to 150 NBA matches per season. Matches will be aired across its satellite and cable channels as well as Canal+ Online, its subscription streaming platform.

Competition for NBA rights in Poland has been stymied since Polsat acquired a controlling stake in pay-television broadcaster Eleven Sports’ Polish business. Eleven had originally injected competition into the market but is now carried by all major operators in Poland, negating competition for rights.

Nent has made a strong breakthrough into the Polish market, having acquired rights to the English Premier League, the German Bundesliga and Formula One. However, it did not show strong interest in NBA rights.

The value of NBA rights in Poland has plateaued at a much lower level after peaking in the early 2010s. NC Plus was paying $2.8m per season for NBA rights in a four-season deal from 2011-12 to 2014-15.

In Norway, VG+ Sport subscribers will also have access to an exclusive 30 per cent discount on NBA League Pass Premium, the league’s live game platform.

VG is part of the Oslo-headquartered Schibsted Media Group. VG+ and VG+ Sport is the newspaper’s paid content section with more than 250,000 subscribers. In addition to the new deal with the NBA, VG+ Sport holds live rights to Italian club football competition the Coppa Italia and its Spanish equivalent, the Copa del Rey. It also carries LFCTV (Liverpool) and AFCTV (Arsenal), and streams ATP men’s tennis tournaments.

The NBA’s last rights deal in Norway was signed in 2013 with Norwegian commercial and pay-television broadcaster TV2 Norway. The deal spanned three seasons from 2013-14 to 2015-16.