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In new YES deal, Brooklyn Nets get big increase in rights money


The Nets and YES Network have agreed to new media rights package that will extend the relationship between the team and network, the two sides announced Monday.  The deal will kick in during the 2017-18 season.

"We are happy that our agreement with the YES Network extends our relationship with the nation's number one regional sports network," said Brett Yormark. "The increased commitment from YES positions us as a premium NBA team."

Television industry sources tell NetsDaily the agreement will provide the team with "well above" the $20 million a year the Nets currently receive from YES and "substantially more" than even the $40 million Sports Business Journal suggested they'd get only last month.

In September, John Ourand and John Lombardo of SBJ reported...

The Nets used a contractual "reset" that occurs every five years to get YES Network’s majority owner Fox Sports to increase its rights fee to an annual average of around $40 million, starting with 2017-18 season, according to sources.

The local TV rights have long been an issue for the Nets ownership.  Of the four big market teams in New York and Los Angeles, the Nets received the least money.  According to one league source, the Nets local rights take wasn't much more than what the Timberwolves receive annually. Despite consistent low ratings, ownership has argued that it had spent an enormous amount of money on the franchise that would over the course of the agreement  yield results.

The YES deal will be the second TV rights boost for the team. Next season, the NBA's national TV rights deal, negotiated with ESPN and TNT, will nearly triple what teams have received in the past. From roughly $30 million a year, the national rights per team will jump to more than $80 million.

SBJ reported last month that under terms of the proposed agreement, the agreement between the two would let YES retain all broadcast TV and digital rights to the Nets programming and shorten the deal. The current agreement goes through the 2031-32 season, with options beyond that.  The new deal is shorter but still runs well into the next decade, says SBJ.

Monday's announcement does not discuss the length of the agreement.

A little more than one-half of one percent of the New York market's TVs are tuned to YES for Nets games, according to earlier SBJ reporting. Those are the lowest TV ratings for any NBA team, but that doesn't mean the Nets have the smallest audience in the NBA. Because the New York market is so large, even a tiny percentage of it yields an audience larger than many of the smaller NBA markets.

Despite the low ratings, Nets games are important for YES Network, because they provide winter programming to supplement the RSN’s highly rated New York Yankees schedule.

The YES Network has televised Nets games since the inception of the network in 2002.  YES has won 17 New York Emmy Awards in the past eight years for its Nets coverage.  YES’ on-air talent this season includes Ian Eagle and Ryan Ruocco handling play-by-play duties, Jim Spanarkel, Mike Fratello and Donny Marshall providing analysis, and Sarah Kustok reporting from the sidelines.

"YES’ extensive, Emmy Award-winning multi-media coverage of the Nets has played a key role as the franchise has built its Brooklyn brand, and we are pleased to extend our relationship with this long-term deal," said Tracy Dolgin, President & CEO of the YES Network.