Fox Sports takes rights to new NBA tournament

The Fox Sports division of US network Fox has agreed a multi-year rights partnership with the NBA through which it will back the North American basketball league’s new Jr. NBA World Championship.

First unveiled by the NBA in December, the inaugural edition of the tournament for elite 13- and 14-year-old boys and girls teams from around the world will take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida, from August 7-12.

Fox Sports will air 16 games totalling 20 hours of programming. On August 11-12, there will be more than 10 hours of programming on Fox that includes the boys and girls US and international championship games as well as the World Championship games between those winners. Select domestic and international pool play and elimination games will air on cable television channel FS1. 

All games will be simulcast on the Fox Sports app, which now provides live streaming video of Fox Sports content through iOS and Android devices.

The NBA holds existing domestic rights deals for its main league with sports broadcaster ESPN and the Turner Sports division of US cable-television broadcaster Turner Broadcasting System. It has said its decision to partner with Fox Sports for the new venture should not come as a surprise.

“We have a longstanding relationship with Fox that includes partnerships with 17 of our teams through its family of regional sports networks,” Kathy Behrens, the NBA’s president of social responsibility and player programs, told the Variety website.  

“Fox shares our commitment to the Jr. NBA World Championship and our goals of showcasing a values-driven youth sports event that is global in nature and inclusive of both boys and girls. Fox offered up terrific national platforms across broadcast and cable to highlight the tournament and we’re looking forward to building on this unique event.”

The Jr. NBA World Championship features both boys and girls divisions, each comprised of eight US and eight international teams, separated into US and international brackets that include round-robin and single-elimination competition.

The winning boys and girls teams from eight newly-created US regional tournaments (Central, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southeast and West), as well as teams representing eight international regions (Africa & Middle East, Asia Pacific, Canada, China, Europe, India, Mexico and South America), will compete in the Jr. NBA World Championship in August.