NBA on TNT Jan 30, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; General view of a TNT videographer on the court of the Pepsi Center before the game between the Utah Jazz against the Denver Nuggets. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

With Warner Bros. Discovery on the brink of losing the NBA on TNT, they’ll do so knowing $200 million may have saved the relationship.

The NBA is reportedly finalizing written contracts with Disney, Comcast and Amazon this week, bringing the league’s 35-year relationship with WBD’s TNT to an end. And according to Bloomberg, that relationship may be ending over a $200 million dispute.

Comcast’s agreement with the league to bring back the NBA on NBC is reportedly worth about $2.5 billion per year. WBD CEO and president David Zaslav has the right to match, but doing so is proving to be difficult because the NBA values Comcast’s ability to put games on NBC. WBD does not have a broadcast network.

But according to Bloomberg, Zaslav could have retained NBA rights without a bidding war. As the current rights holders, Disney and WBD had an exclusive negotiation window to reach a contract renewal with the NBA. Disney reached a handshake agreement with the NBA during that window, Zaslav did not. Bloomberg reports the NBA began talks with WBD by requesting $2.3 billion a year, but Zaslav wouldn’t go above $2.1 billion, prompting Silver to start negotiating with Comcast and Amazon.

Fast forward about two months and the NBA now has an agreement with Comcast for $2.5 billion annually. But had Zaslav reached a handshake agreement by meeting the league’s initial request of $2.3 billion, WBD may have been able to retain NBA media rights at a discount.

Earlier this week Charles Barkley ripped his bosses at WBD, claiming “they’ve screwed this thing up” in terms of failing to negotiate a new contract agreement with the NBA. Between Zaslav saying, “We don’t have to have the NBA” before falling $200 million short in their negotiations, only to now be scrambling for a way to hang onto an NBA rights package, “they’ve screwed this thing up” is putting it mildly.


About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to