Comparing NFL and NBA Television Deals

The NBA made news this week by agreeing to a whopping $2.7 billion television contract with Turner Sports and ESPN. According to Sports Business Daily, the amount that ESPN is slated to pay to the NBA under this new deal is $1.4 billion per year. 

These figures are too ridiculous for the average person to conceptualize. And finding a comparison may be hard to do, especially considering just how much money the sports industry now brings in on an annual basis.

But this chart by Business Insider gives us an idea of how much ESPN is paying for the rights to cover the NBA compared to other sports.

And in reality, it’s mind-boggling.


While it’s important to note that ESPN airs a total of 19 NFL games (postseason and Pro Bowl included) compared to 90-plus MLB games, these numbers just go to show how much more relevant the NFL is compared to the three other major leagues in the United States.

While the NBA relies on stars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, the NFL can get away with throwing out a less-than-stellar product and still acquire the viewership that makes any of the other sport (NBA included) pale in comparison.

Consider this: the 2013-2014 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs averaged 15.5 million viewers per game. Meanwhile, the most recent Thursday Night Football matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings accumulated a viewership of 16.5 million.