Why Fox Lowered Its Bid for Basketball Rights — and What It Says About the Cable Business

Feb 10, 2016  •  Post A Comment

In one of the signs of what Forbes describes as a downturn for the cable business, Fox Sports is reportedly lowering its offer for local TV rights to the NBA’s L.A. Clippers. The company’s Prime Ticket has a current deal worth upwards of $20 million a year, the publication reports, with the deal ending after this season. Previous expectations were that the value of the deal might triple when it came time for renewal.

“Last September, Fox reportedly offered a $60 million a year deal for the Clippers local TV rights,” Forbes reports. “[Clippers owner Steve] Ballmer rejected that offer and asked for $100 million and was even entertaining the idea of streaming Clippers games in a Netflix-like system.”

But Ballmer, who paid $2 billion for the Clippers about a year and a half ago, “may have misread the cable television landscape,” the report notes, with the cable business in general sputtering in recent months and the L.A. market seeing Time Warner Cable — a potential bidder for Clippers rights — struggle with its L.A. Dodgers deal. Meanwhile, Clippers ratings are down.

“As a result, Fox rescinded its $60 million offer and has come back with a lower bid — somewhere in the low-to-mid $50 million range — according to one league executive,” Forbes reports.

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