NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum Says League Has No Expansion Plans

‣ NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum emphasized that a new media deal is a prerequisite before any league expansion can be considered, indicating that the NBA’s focus is currently on completing its collective bargaining agreement with the players and negotiating a new television media agreement.

‣ Despite rumors about Seattle and Las Vegas potentially receiving NBA teams, Tatum clarified that expansion is not imminent and that the league has no plans to add new teams at the moment, with the priority being the completion of ongoing negotiations.

‣ The NBA’s current media deal, signed in 2016 with Disney and AT&T, is one of the world’s richest for domestic rights, bringing in an average of $2.6 billion per season. The league is in the process of negotiating a new media deal as the current one expires after the 2024-25 season, with a 45-day negotiation period with ESPN/ABC and TNT starting on March 9.

Details

Mark Tatum, the NBA’s Deputy Commissioner, dropped some news on Wednesday. He was chatting with SDNA and mentioned something pretty significant. Before the NBA even thinks about getting bigger, they’ve got to sort out a new media deal. That’s step one.

The league’s got 30 teams right now, split evenly across two conferences. There’s been chatter, you know, about Seattle and Las Vegas possibly getting their own teams. But, despite what the rumor mill’s churning out, we’re not there yet.

“At the moment, we have no plans to expand,” Tatum said. He’s echoing what NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been saying. First things first: they’ve got to wrap up the collective bargaining agreement with the players. And, oh, they’re also in the middle of hashing out a deal with the television media.

There was a tweet from TOLIS KOTZIAS, showing Tatum at SDNA, saying, “Right now we don’t have a plan to add teams to our league.” It makes it pretty clear that expansion isn’t on the immediate horizon.

The negotiation process for these deals? It was completed last spring. And they’ve still got the rest of this season plus another year on the agreement with domestic media.

Let’s talk money. The NBA is working on a new media deal. Remember the one signed in 2016 with Disney and AT&T? That was a nine-year contract worth $24 billion, boosting the league’s revenue significantly.

This deal, averaging $2.6 billion per season, is the world’s second-richest for domestic rights. But all good things come to an end, right? This one wraps up after the 2024-25 season.

Here’s something to mark on your calendar: March 9. That’s when the NBA starts its 45-day negotiation period with ESPN/ABC and TNT for the next media rights deal. ESPN/ABC and Turner, they air a bunch of games. Warner Brothers Discovery, which owns Turner Sports, shows 106 games via NBA TV.

Tatum’s stance? No expansion talk until these deals are done and dusted. “Then we’ll see if we expand,” he added. It’s not a no, but it’s not a yes either. It’s more of a “let’s wait and see.”

The NBA has grown quite a bit since 1988, adding seven more franchises. Remember the excitement when the Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, and Minnesota Timberwolves came into the picture? And then, in 1995, Canada got in on the action with the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies. Though, the Grizzlies moved to Memphis in 2001.

The Charlotte Bobcats made it 30 teams in 2004, after the Hornets moved to New Orleans in 2002. And then, in a full-circle moment, the Bobcats became the Charlotte Hornets again in 2014. Oh, and let’s not forget the Seattle SuperSonics’ move to Oklahoma City in 2008, becoming the Thunder.

So, yeah, the NBA’s history of expansion is kind of like a soap opera. Full of moves, rebrands, and new beginnings. But for now, we wait. Expansion’s on pause as the league figures out its next big media deal.

James Shotwell
James Shotwell
James, a dedicated writer for BasketballHour, holds a degree in English and Creative Writing. A genuine sports enthusiast and skilled betting advice provider, he writes engaging articles and valuable winning strategies for sports.

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