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NBA brings in record-high revenue in 2021-22 season

Andrew Buller-Russ

A year after a COVID-stunted season, the NBA returned to a full 82-game slate, including an additional play-in tournament to determine the final playoff spots. After two consecutive years of restricted spectator attendance, it’s clear that basketball fans were starved for action.

Thanks to the continuous growth of the sport of basketball worldwide, its popularity is at an all-time high. Naturally, with the game reaching new corners, elevating its profile even more, the money associated with the sport grows as well.

Just as we’ve seen with the growing popularity of football around the globe, with NFL player salaries, and TV revenue spiking to extraordinary numbers, the NBA isn’t far behind.

Helping boost these revenue numbers are massive TV deals such as the NBA seeking a total of $75 billion from Turner Sports and ESPN in upcoming media contract negotiations. But it’s not just the executives or the team owners raking in the dough.

In the first few days of NBA free agency at the end of June, teams paid nearly $3 billion to free agents.

So clearly, there’s a lot of money to go around in the NBA, and the astronomical figures are only expected to keep sailing even further.

Related: Top 2023 NBA free agents: LeBron James and Kyrie Irving could lead the charge

NBA revenue in 2022 neared NFL levels

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Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

According to Justin Byers of Front Office Sports, the NBA surpassed the $10 billion mark in revenue just from the 2021-22 season alone.

This actually places the NBA near what the NFL raked in, with a reported record-setting $11 billion in revenue from their last season of play.

For the NBA to come close to the NFL has to be considered a major victory.

But what’s changed? Why is the NBA suddenly able to come close to football revenues?

As mentioned, a lot of it has to do with sponsorships and rising TV deals. But even the $10 billion revenue mark isn’t far from their previous numbers. During the 2018-19 season, the NBA still pulled in $8.8 billion in revenue, but it dropped down to $8.3 billion with the pandemic deterring the Association’s growth.

This led to the NBA seeking other ways to bring in money, such as landing advertising deals to bring in $1.46 billion in revenue from sponsorships alone. Another estimated $2.6 billion accounts for their media rights deals.

With so many NBA stars and superstars helping increase basketball’s popularity, coming from different countries, reaching new factions of fans is likely only going to lead to even more revenue in time. Media deals aren’t going to shrink any time soon, and there will always be the next generation of hoopers. Even after the legends such as LeBron James are long gone, a new face of the NBA will emerge, and it’s possible they’re already here, with the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo and several others.

If this latest report of growing revenue is a surprise, just wait five or ten years, when that number could be double or even triple the amount.

Related: NBA trade rumors: Latest buzz surrounding Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell and more