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Impressed By NFL’s Model, Stephen A. Smith Dictates How NBA Should Evolve Their Streaming Service

As per the latest reports, the NBA is about to finalize its media rights deal effective from the 2025-26 season. There can be widespread changes in the way NBA fans consume its content. Stephen A. Smith alluded to the NFL streaming model and urged the broadcasters to follow a similar scheme. As someone who has been in the TV media space for more than two decades, his inputs are backed by vast experience. 

On his ‘KG Certified‘, Kevin Garnett pointed out specific organizations utilizing novel ways to increase fan engagement such as rolling out ‘reality shows’. He wondered if the traditional TV model was getting “beat up” by the new ways of consuming NBA content. 

Adding to this, the 56-year-old analyst agreed that this “individualized” model is challenging the way the NBA broadcasts its product. He also added that the NBA should learn from the NFL and extract the most out of the available “streaming stratosphere”. 

They went to YouTube and they couldn’t be happier. It does look like a better product, the clarity of the whole visual, it just looks aesthetically brilliant on the part of the NFL. It pops more. You have four games on one screen so you don’t have to set up three or four multiple TVs,” Stephen A. Smith told Kevin Garnett.

While the ‘First Take’ host didn’t go into the media rights battle between NBC and TNT, he specified a major change to the NBA’s broadcasting change. Multi-faceted streaming services have replaced the linear TV model. And now, as per Smith, the NBA must tap into easily accessible services such as YouTube.

The younger fanbase will find this approach lucrative and the NBA can grow its viewership unprecedentedly. However, a lot will depend upon which network lands the deal in the first place. As the league finalizes a deal with Amazon, they could move towards a more streaming-oriented approach.

The heated NBA media rights battlefield

The new NBA media rights deal is expected to fetch $76 billion in 11 years, which will be a historical landmark for the league. Walt Disney Co., which operates ESPN and Amazon, has landed two portions of the deal with the league. Meanwhile, Warner Bros Discovery and Comcast Corp, which owns NBC, are in contention for the third portion of the deal.

Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

On the flip side, the TNT network is reportedly losing out in the race for the third portion which can spell doom for the fan-favorite ‘Inside the NBA’ show. During an appearance on ‘ESPN Cleveland Radio’, Charles Barkley admitted that he could lose his Inside the NBA job.

He quipped about becoming a free agent if the network loses out on the NBA broadcasting rights. Thus, we can see Barkley take his talents to a different network after the 2024-25 season. There will be no shortage of contenders considering his top-notch resume. 

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