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TV Rights Issues Putting Nets at Big Competitive, Financial Disadvantage

Neilson Barnard - Getty Images
Neilson Barnard - Getty Images

It's been a while since the Nets and YES went to arbitration on how much in TV rights money the Nets will receive (and for how long) but it's not likely to significantly affect the Nets finances because of deals made years ago. As a result, the Nets TV rights are nowhere near as lucrative as other teams in big markets.

The team and YES are in the middle of a 20-year contract that ends with the 2021-22 season. Signed in 2002, the deal allowed each side to reopen it and reset rights after last season. Originally, the Nets agreed to extend the deal through 2031-32 in return for increased money. Mikhail Prokhorov said "nyet" and in March it went to arbitration.

Prokhorov believes local rights are more valuable than what the team has been paid, less than $10 million a season, and will grow in Brooklyn. YES argues the Nets have the lowest TV ratings in the NBA. The bottom line is that because of two deals made in 1976 and 2002, the Nets are currently at the far end of the NBA spectrum from the Lakers who will get $150 million a year under a new local TV contract. As our SB Nation's colleagues at Welcome to Loud City note, the disparity between the Nets and Lakers is one big reason why the NBA needs revenue sharing.