Telefónica secures NBA renewal in Spain for three-season cycle

Telecoms operator Telefónica has renewed its NBA broadcast rights in Spain for a further three-season cycle, taking the pair’s relationship to 25 years.

The cycle will cover the three seasons between 2020-21 and 2022-23 and will see the telco offer NBA’s League Pass, the league’s premium subscription service, at a discounted price for existing subscribers.

An NBA League Pass can only be purchased through Telefónica’s Emoción mobile content portal.

The telco will exploit the NBA rights on its Movistar Plus pay-television platform as well as one weekly primetime game on its free-to-air Vamos channel.

The inventory includes rights to all regular-season and post-season games, the NBA All-Star weekend events and NBA magazine programmes. To supplement the deal, Telefónica will produce one magazine show and one daily NBA-themed news offering.

The 2020-21 NBA season’s start has been delayed from its original scheduled start date of late October. The season will now begin on December 25 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The rest of the season’s schedule has not yet been confirmed.

Telefónica has forged a strong basketball offering in Spain and the renewal of its NBA rights follows on swiftly from it retention of rights to the Liga ACB, Spain’s top tier of domestic basketball. The ACB deal also covers the three-season cycle between 2020-21 and 2022-23.

Experts say the telco’s enthusiasm to renew it rights for these two properties was, in part, driven by OTT subscription platform DAZN’s acquisition of EuroLeague basketball.

Telefónica previously held a monopoly over the top three basketball properties in Spain and this was only broken when DAZN was awarded the EuroLeague rights in 2019. The deal will expire at the end of the 2022-23 season.