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Bob Iger: New NBA Rights Deal ‘A Priority’ for ESPN

The current rights deal for the NBA with ESPN — as well as TNT — expires after the 2024-2025 season, but negotiations are already underway. Challengers are expected for the packages held by the two cable channels, and Disney CEO Bob Iger was adamant that the NBA is an important asset for ESPN.

“It’s a very, very valuable property for this company,” Iger said told CNBC Squawk on the Street host David Faber. “It’s a great sport. Not only is there a lot of volume, there’s a lot of quality, and it would be a priority of ours to extend our deal with them.”

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Iger also said it’s a virtual foregone conclusion that a direct-to-consumer model is the future for ESPN.

“The model will ultimately change. I think it will become an over-the-top model. I said yesterday I don’t know when that will be. We’ve had conversations about it. I actually think — with a so-called over-the-top model — it will be a phenomenal product for the sports fan.”

When asked by Faber if that means ESPN will largely be a streaming platform, Iger responded “one day,” with a smile, adding that day is not here yet.

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