David Stern, who retired as NBA head after 30 years, thinks that live streaming of games won’t harm the NBA, as reported by CNBC. In fact, it will be a boost to have new viewers who don’t have cable. Dish Network announced at a Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, that it would be able to provide ESPN and ESPN2 as a $20 per month streaming service.
Stern said, “That plan is appealing to an audience that either has cut their cord already, or are nervers—the never had cable (people)–so actually I think it will bring in more people, and I would hope that somebody gets to see the occasional game on ESPN or ABC will want to make sure they get to see all the games, which required a whole different package.”
Of course, the cable companies, particularly ESPN’s owner Disney, can’t be welcoming this news, as sports games are a major generator of revenues. The NBA signed huge television rights deals with Disney and Time Warner worth $9 billion over nine years. In fact, the exclusive deals with cable companies is one reason why many viewers still kept their cable cords, even as they watched streaming movies. HBO has made streaming service available, and it looks like ESPN might have to fall into line.