Connect with us

Sports

NBA reaches new, record-setting media deal

Published

on

NBA reaches new, record-setting media deal

The NBA has agreed to terms on its new media deal, a record 11-year agreement worth $76 billion that assures player salaries will continue rising for the foreseeable future and one that will surely change how some viewers access the game for years to come.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the networks have the terms sheets, with the next step being for the league’s board of governors to approve the contracts.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Wednesday because they weren’t at liberty to discuss such impending matters.

JONTAY PORTER PLEADS GUILTY IN GAMBLING SCHEME THAT GOT HIM BANNED FOR LIFE FROM NBA

The deal, which set NBA records for both its length and total value, goes into effect for the 2025-26 season. Games will continue being aired on ESPN and ABC, and now some will be going to NBC and Amazon Prime. TNT Sports, which has been part of the league’s broadcasting family since the 1980s, could be on its way out, but has five days to match one of the deals.

Advertisement

The five-day clock would begin once the league sends the finished contracts to TNT.

The Athletic was the first to report on the contracts.

ESPN and ABC will continue to have the league’s top package, which includes the NBA Finals and one of the conference finals series. ABC has aired the NBA Finals since 2003. ABC would continue to air games on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons when the NFL’s regular season ends.

FILE – Philadelphia 76ers’ Tobias Harris, center, goes up for a shot between Cleveland Cavaliers’ Dean Wade, left, and Georges Niang during the first half of an NBA basketball in-season tournament game, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia. The NBA has agreed to terms on its new media deal, an 11-year agreement worth $76 billion that assures player salaries will continue rising for the foreseeable future and one that will surely change how some viewers access the game for years to come. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

ESPN’s main nights would continue to be Wednesday with some Friday and Sunday games.

Advertisement

The return of NBC, which carried NBA games from 1990 through 2002, gives the league two broadcast network partners for the first time.

NBC would showcase games on Sunday night once the NFL season has ended. It will air games on Tuesdays throughout the regular season while a Monday night package of games would be exclusively streamed on Peacock.

Prime Video would have games on Thursday night after it is done carrying NFL games. Its other nights would be Friday and Saturday.

NBC and Prime Video would alternate who carries the other conference final.

In the short term, the deal almost certainly means the league’s salary cap will rise 10% annually — the maximum allowed by the terms of the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA and its players. That means players like Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dallas’ Luka Doncic could be making around $80 million in the 2030-31 season and raises at least some possibility that top players may be earning somewhere near $100 million per season by the mid-2030s.

Advertisement

It also clears the way for the next major item on the NBA’s to-do list: Expansion.

Commissioner Adam Silver was very clear on the order of his top agenda items in recent seasons, those being preserving labor peace (which was achieved with the new CBA), getting a new media deal (now essentially completed) and then and only then would the league turn its attention toward adding new franchises. Las Vegas and Seattle are typically among the cities most prominently mentioned as top expansion candidates, with others such as Montreal, Vancouver and Kansas City expected to have groups with interest as well.

As the broadcast rights packages have grown in total value over the last 25 years, so, too, have salaries because of how much that revenue stream ends up fueling the salary cap.

When NBC and Turner agreed to a $2.6 billion, four-year deal that started with the 1998-99 season, the salary cap was $30 million per team and the average salary was around $2.5 million. The average salary this season exceeded $10 million per player — and it’s only going to keep going up from here.

When that NBC-Turner deal that started a quarter-century ago expired, the next deal — covering six seasons — cost ABC, ESPN and Turner about $4.6 billion. The next was a seven-year deal, costing those networks $7.4 billion.

Advertisement

The current deal, the one that will expire next season, smashed those records — nine years, nearly $24 billion.

And now, that seems like pocket change.

From the deal that started in 1998-99 to the one now struck to begin in 2025, the total value has climbed by about 2,800%. Factoring for inflation even between then and now, the value goes up about 1,400%.

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sports

It's like Vegas' Sphere — kinda. 7 things to know about L.A.'s otherworldly new venue

Published

on

It's like Vegas' Sphere — kinda. 7 things to know about L.A.'s otherworldly new venue

Outside it was sunny and in the high 80s, but inside, a large, spectral-like glacier was rushing toward me.

As it broke apart in the water, it looked sickly, with glowing green streaks running through it. Then it was overhead, and I was spiraling, traversing oceanic crests only to arrive inside an underwater forest.

I was at Cosm in Inglewood. And I was watching a short film, “Seek,” from local artist Nancy Baker Cahill. As images of leaves and algae swirled below, in front and above us, some audience members gasped. Others pointed at mystical details in the fantastical take on nature.

Cosm, which officially opened this month, is an entertainment- and sports-focused venue that places guests in a mini-arena with a screen that surrounds them. It’s L.A.’s latest entry in the still-burgeoning immersive space, one that taps into our long-held desire to be enveloped in panoramic visions, this one a large-scale display that towers in a dome.

While “Seek” is otherworldly, much of Cosm’s programming aims to be grounded in reality. Thus far, it has focused on live simulcasts of sporting events. But don’t think of it as a sports bar. And don’t necessarily consider it a theater, either, although its current programming includes a Cirque cu Soleil favorite. Here are seven things to know about the hard-to-pigeonhole Cosm.

Advertisement

Cosm aims to envelope guests with a wrap-around screen. The venue will focus heavily on sporting events and short, artist-commissioned works.

(Michael Blackshire / Los Angeles Times)

Courtesy of Cosm and Nancy Baker Cahill

Advertisement

1. Think of it as part planetarium, part mini-Sphere

Cosm has roots in science and education. The firm owns Spitz Inc., the planetarium endeavor founded in the 1940s by Armand Spitz, a principal in the field. Yet Cosm Los Angeles definitely has entertainment on its mind. It will no doubt recall Las Vegas’ all-encompassing arena Sphere. Yet Cosm is cozier.

The centerpiece of the venue is its dome, with an 87-foot-diameter wraparound LED screen; Sphere, meanwhile, reaches heights of about 366 feet. But what matters more than sheer numbers is the feel of the environment. If Sphere has centered itself primarily around live music, Cosm is going for an intimate, slightly upscale mood, albeit one in which each of its three seating levels is relatively close to its screen.

That means live entertainment won’t be Cosm’s core programming. Instead, expect live simulcasts of sports, rebroadcasts of theatrical productions and original, artist-driven cinematic installations. If all goes according to plan, perhaps Cosm will host a mix of concert films and live feeds of in-demand, difficult-to-get-into shows. The idea is to complement live performances by giving us views that would be largely impossible to see in the flesh, and to do so with a screen that puts us in the center of the scene.

The resolution, of course, is crisp, with Cosm boasting a 12K LED screen. That presentation, coupled with our close proximity to a screen that wraps around and above us, at times even results in a sense of motion. I watched Cahill’s “Seek” in Cosm’s dome, and the work is one that uses abstract visual effects to present alternately a surreal and welcoming vision of nature. As tornadoes swirled before us or Cahill’s images led us inside a tree, the venue seemed to lift with the visuals, resulting in a theme park-like feel.

Advertisement

“I’m really into big — big everything. I’m a maximalist,” Cahill says when discussing what drew her to Cosm. “Seek” is a commentary about our shifting climate, using tech that encircles us to create a sense of presence.

“Among the most important takeaways and opportunities that I thought about in terms of this canvas was, how could we reconnect to our animal selves?” Cahill says. “How could we really find ourselves embedded in nature by paying attention?”

A person sits in a seat next to a screen showing an image of tree roots and low-growing plants

Meera Kim looks on after the “Seek” immersive show experience at Cosm.

(Michael Blackshire / Los Angeles Times)

2. Cosm wants to redefine the sports viewing experience

Situated as it is in Inglewood, nestled near SoFi Stadium and the Intuit Dome, Cosm taps into the sports-centric entertainment of the Hollywood Park area. Much of Cosm’s early programming has centered around UFC bouts, international soccer matches and, soon, the U.S. Open tennis tournament and NCAA football games. So what makes Cosm different from, say, your couch or the local sports bar? The dome, for one, isn’t simply showing a network broadcast.

Advertisement

Cosm events are filmed with the company’s own cameras, providing four to six unique perspectives — either on the field or courtside, or sometimes an unexpected above-ground view, says Devin Poolman, Cosm’s chief product and technology officer. The goal is to ensure what you’re seeing at Cosm is not something that is replicated at home. And if it works, it should create an illusion of being extremely close to the action, as Cosm’s in-house technical directors are switching camera angles on the fly.

Cosm will work with broadcast partners to pipe in live television commentary. Think of it all as simulating a front-row-seat experience. You won’t be tricked into believing you’re actually in the sporting venue, but it should be close. “I liken it to the days of bringing a radio to the ballpark and listening along to the announcers while you’re watching the game,” Poolman says.

Two guests look up at an immersive screen.

Joanne Popper, left, and James Jones experience “Seek” at Cosm, where the screen encircles guests.

(Michael Blackshire / Los Angeles Times)

3. Cosm insists this is not a theater

“We’re allergic to the term theater,” Poolman says. Cosm’s creators want the spaces to feel social. That’s why they also sell a low-priced general admission ticket, which allows access to the venue’s sports-focused bar and restaurant as well as obstructed, back-of-the-dome viewing. They want guests to know it’s OK to get up, walk around and take in the scenery.

Advertisement

“We want you comfortable in a social setting — going to the bar and grabbing a drink and talking to your friends while enjoying a sense of place,” Poolman says. “That is taking you to a world Nancy Baker Cahill is creating, or a soccer match or UFC fight.”

Seating, for instance, is communal. A second-floor bar rail is available for solo guests but also encourages conversation with those around you. Tables and booths offer seating for two to eight.

Cosm CEO Jeb Terry, a former pro football player, says Cosm isn’t out to show Hollywood films. Instead, the venue will continue to focus on sports and its creator program, which has largely resulted in 30- to 40-minute artist-focused, visual effects-driven works.

In addition to Cahill’s “Seek,” Cosm is home to the animated “Orbital,” from Guy Reid and Planetary Collective, an impressionistic take on the formation of the universe, and “Liquidverse: Microcosm & Macrocosm,” Ricardo Romaneiro‘s psychedelic exploration of miniature chemical reactions. All were created specifically for Cosm using primarily a mix of animation and video game engines.

“We’re not a first-run theater,” says Terry. “We’re leaning into the experiential side.”

Advertisement
Dining tables and booths in an Inglewood venue.

An open-air dining area at Cosm also includes a 150-foot wall-to-wall screen.

(Michael Blackshire / Los Angeles Times)

4. Beyond the dome is an open-air restaurant and bar

As someone who spends quite a bit of time at so-called immersive venues and at immersive events, I see a lot of darkened, boxy air-conditioned spaces. After a recent trip to Las Vegas to visit a number of immersive locales, shuffling among indoor spots, I spent a week working in a park, simply wanting to be outdoors. So one of the nice touches with Cosm is its first-floor, relatively open-air restaurant and bar. Dubbed “the Hall,” the area contains an indoor-outdoor bar as well as a menu of sports bar-inspired food (think burgers, wings, popcorn, etc.). Note that the kitchen is available throughout Cosm, including in the dome.

While all of Cosm requires a ticket to enter, the Hall is more budget-friendly than the dome, where tickets can push $70 per person or more. Hall tickets for the U.S. Open simulcast, for instance, cost $6, but NCAA football events run about $22. The centerpiece of the area is its 150-foot wall-to-wall digital display, which can show multiple games — the one showing in the dome, as well as whatever other key matches are happening at that time.

There are two stories, in case one doesn’t want to be looking up at the screens. It’s a nice option if whatever is screening in the dome is a blow-out. More important, though, it provides a window to the outside world, offering a necessary sensory break after being dwarfed by the dome.

Advertisement

5. Spend some time on the rooftop

There are three floors of dome seating, but don’t miss the escalator leading up to Cosm’s rooftop. That gives Cosm another outdoor space, this one free of screens. When all the tech becomes overwhelming, head here to have a bite and a beverage and take in the views of the nearby sporting venues. And if the scene on the first floor is too loud — depending on the game, I imagine Cosm can feel quite active — the rooftop can be a respite. After seeing “Seek,” I spent about 45 minutes up here reacclimating myself to the natural world, wishing I had brought a book.

Two women take a selfie below a large screen.

Claudine Cooper, left, and Gaynell Lyons take a selfie in the Hall at Cosm, which is a dining area with a 150-foot wall of screens above its windows.

(Michael Blackshire / Los Angeles Times)

6. Can’t make it to Cirque du Soleil’s “O” in Las Vegas? Head to Cosm

One of the more intriguing programming pieces of Cosm’s early slate is a production of Cirque du Soleil’s “O.” Single tickets start at around $77, with booths for four or five running between $264 and $385, depending on the seating level. Having recently seen “O” in Las Vegas, spending more than $150 for a less-than-desirable seat, I do wonder if the not-live but all-surrounding experience of Cosm would have been a better way to experience the show?

“There’s the opportunity to put you onstage, backstage, in the water and above the stage,” Poolman says. “We give you more than what you’d get as a fan sitting in the audience to keep you closely engaged.”

Advertisement

And no binoculars needed.

A guest at Cosm stands before a screen.

Camille Wong, center, talks to friends after a screening of the “Seek” immersive show experience at Cosm.

(Michael Blackshire / Los Angeles Times)

A audience member watches the "Seek" immersive show experience at Cosm.

A audience member watches the “Seek” immersive show experience at Cosm.

(Michael Blackshire / Los Angeles Times)

Advertisement

7. Cosm is a statement about the accessibility — and affordability — of live events

The arrival of Cosm on the L.A. scene raises a question: Is live entertainment increasingly becoming unattainable to all but the wealth class?

Cosm, it should be noted, for a dome ticket isn’t cheap, even if it’s a lower cost of entry than a live event. As a tennis fan, I long to get back to New York for the U.S. Open. A single quarterfinal ticket at Cosm runs around $61 for premium viewing. A third-level table for two will set you back $88. An actual ticket to the event in New York, meanwhile, is currently $163 or more for the top deck, not including airfare and hotel.

“Some of the biggest and most sought-after events in the world are unapproachable and inaccessible to the majority of people,” says Cosm CEO Terry.

So while Cosm provides an arguably better presentation than the home viewing one, not to mention offering a sense of community, I can’t help but fear a world where there’s a growing divide between real life and immersive experiences, the latter relegating most of us to a screen-based reality. Sporting and theatrical events aren’t getting any cheaper, so this seems dangerously plausible. It’s a worry, and Cosm seems to bring us one step closer to it, especially with locations planned for Dallas and Atlanta. For now, however, I’ll see you at the U.S. Open, albeit from my seat in Inglewood.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Sports

Two Canada Olympic staff members sent home after spying attempt on New Zealand soccer practice

Published

on

Two Canada Olympic staff members sent home after spying attempt on New Zealand soccer practice

NICE, France — The Olympic women’s soccer tournament is starting with some unexpected drama: a complaint from New Zealand’s Olympic Committee about an attempt at spying during a training session just before the Paris Games.

A drone was flown over a Ferns training session in Saint-Étienne, France, on Monday, New Zealand’s Olympic Committee (NZOC) said in a statement. Ferns staffers reported the drone to police, who detained the operator, a staff member for the Canadian team.

On Wednesday, the Canadian Olympic Committee said that a separate drone incident at New Zealand training on July 19 had come to light. As a result, Canada head coach Bev Priestman said she would remove herself from overseeing Thursday’s game against New Zealand. The COC added that Joseph Lombardi, an “unaccredited analyst,” and Jasmine Mander, a coach who oversees Lombardi, had been removed from the team and sent home. The committee said Canada Soccer staff would also undergo “mandatory ethics training.”

The COC’s initial statement Wednesday morning confirmed that Lombardi used a drone “to record the New Zealand women’s football team during practice.” The COC apologized to New Zealand’s players, federation and the International Olympic Committee, saying it was “shocked and disappointed.”

FIFA later confirmed on Wednesday its disciplinary committee had opened proceedings against Canada Soccer, Priestman, Mander and Lombardi. The incident represented a potential breach of FIFA and Olympic football’s fair play regulations.

Advertisement

Priestman will not be on the sidelines for Canada’s game against New Zealand (Logan Riely/Getty Images)

“On behalf of our entire team, I first and foremost want to apologize to the players and staff at New Zealand Football and to the players on Team Canada,” Priestman later said. “This does not represent the values that our team stands for.

“I am ultimately responsible for conduct in our program. Accordingly, to emphasize our team’s commitment to integrity, I have decided to voluntarily withdraw from coaching the match on Thursday. In the spirit of accountability, I do this with the interests of both teams in mind and to ensure everyone feels that the sportsmanship of this game is upheld.”

A FIFA statement read: “The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has opened proceedings against Canada Soccer, Ms Beverly Priestman, Mr Joseph Lombardi and Ms Jasmine Mander due to the potential breach of article 13 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code and article 6.1 of the Regulations Olympic Football Tournaments Games of the XXXIII Olympiad Paris 2024 — final competition, following incidents involving a non-accredited member of the Canadian delegation at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, who is believed to have used a drone to record the New Zealand women’s football team.

“The matter will be submitted for the consideration of the Disciplinary Committee in the next days.”

Advertisement

New Zealand Football CEO Andrew Pragnell issued a statement Thursday morning in New Zealand calling for “urgent action” to be taken to “address this integrity breach.”

“To hear now that the Canadian team had filmed secret footage of our team training at least twice is incredibly concerning and if not treated urgently could have wider implications for the integrity of the tournament,” Pragnell’s statement said.

“We note that there have been some admissions by the Canadian National Olympic Committee, and they have taken their own sanctions against the Canadian team, however, considering the seriousness of the situation, and the potential implications to the sporting integrity of the entire tournament, we have referred the matter to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee seeking urgent action,” the statement continued.

Drones have been a story across the Paris Games, with French prime minister Gabriel Attal saying Tuesday that an average of six drones per day have been intercepted at Olympic sites, mostly from tourists trying to capture footage of the spectacle.

The women’s soccer tournament begins play Thursday. Canada and New Zealand open action in Group A at 5 p.m. local/11 a.m. ET in Saint-Étienne, in a group with France and Colombia. Canada is currently ranked eighth in the world, according to FIFA, while New Zealand is ranked 28th.

Advertisement

Required reading

(Photo: Jean-Pierre Clatot / AFP via Getty)

Continue Reading

Sports

Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh uses odd birthing analogy to talk about first day of training camp

Published

on

Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh uses odd birthing analogy to talk about first day of training camp

The Jim Harbaugh Era has gotten off to an odd start in Los Angeles, as the new Chargers head coach had a weird way of categorizing the first day of training camp. 

Harbaugh, who returns to coach in the NFL after leading Michigan to a national title, spoke with reporters after the first full day of training camp on Wednesday, and he said it felt like “New Year’s Day.”

However, what he followed up with made things a bit awkward.

Jim Harbaugh of the Los Angeles Chargers at the podium before an NFL football practice at Hoag Performance Center on June 13, 2024 in Costa Mesa, California. (Ric Tapia/Getty Images)

Advertisement

“It feels like being born. It feels like coming out of the womb, you know. It’s like you’re in there and it’s comfortable, it’s safe, and now ‘poof,’ you’re born,” Harbaugh said, via the New York Post. “The lights are on, It’s bright. You got chaos, people looking at you, people talking at you. It just feels good to have it happen.”

Certainly, an odd way to talk about returning to the pros, but Harbaugh’s eccentric characterization of his new Chargers post brings about all the optimism and joy that comes with the new addition to a family. 

Chargers fans rejoiced when Harbaugh signed a five-year contract with the Chargers, and Los Angeles made it worth his while to leave the Wolverines’ program with $16 million per season. 

Harbaugh was linked to the Chargers since Brandon Staley was fired after an absolute beatdown by the Las Vegas Raiders, 63-21, in December. After what he was able to do over nine seasons at Michigan — three Big Ten titles and his national championship last season — fans see this veteran addition at head coach as the perfect fit with a roster that’s still very talented. 

Jim Harbaugh points on field

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh instructs on the field during the first day of training camp at The Bolt. (Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports)

Quarterback Justin Herbert is locked in as the team’s franchise signal caller, and someone that Harbaugh can be creative with given his own quarterback background. But, while he’s building chemistry with his new head coach at camp, Herbert didn’t necessarily think about his first day in the way Harbaugh did. 

Advertisement

“I’ll leave the analogies to him,” Herbert said, per ESPN. “He’s done a great job at creating those, so I’ll support whatever he says. We’re just out there playing football, and my job is to throw the ball, so that’s what I’m going to worry about.”

Herbert’s job is to throw, but things in Los Angeles may look pretty different with Greg Roman joining Harbaugh as offensive coordinator. Harbaugh’s teams at Michigan have been known to be run-heavy, and Roman reunites with Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins, two running backs he worked with in Baltimore during his time with the Ravens. 

Jim Harbaugh speaks to media

Jim Harbaugh of the Los Angeles Chargers at the podium before an NFL football practice at Hoag Performance Center on June 13, 2024 in Costa Mesa, California. (Ric Tapia/Getty Images)

But no matter if they are running or throwing the ball, the Chargers will take wins either way. That’s the only thing Harbaugh and his squad care about. 

Follow Fox News Digital’s sports coverage on X, and subscribe to the Fox News Sports Huddle newsletter.

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Trending