The Sacramento Kings are cashing in on a new, highly lucrative television deal that’s on par with what National Basketball Association franchises in larger markets receive.
The Kings announced Monday that they have extended their television contract with Comcast SportsNet to broadcast games and other programming. Neither the team nor Comcast would discuss the financial details of the agreement, but the Sports Business Journal reported the contract is for 20 years and is worth between $690 million and $700 million – an average of about $35 million a year. The team’s previous deal with Comcast was reportedly about $11 million a year.
The Kings said that Comcast SportsNet California will air more than 500 hours of team-related content through the year. That will include 80 games – up from the current 70 – and pre- and postgame shows. The network also plans to produce a monthly magazine show called “Kings Central.”
Comcast will also hire a “Kings Insider,” who will report on the team for broadcasts, for specialty shows and on the network’s website.
“I believe the terms of our new long-term agreement reflect a 21st-century media deal,” Kings president Chris Granger said.
Andy Dolich, a Bay Area sports business consultant, said he wasn’t surprised by the dollar amounts associated with the new Kings deal. He said the team’s new ownership group, led by Silicon Valley executive Vivek Ranadive, has provided stability to the franchise, something that “entities like Comcast are looking for.”
“That stability hasn’t been there for many years,” Dolich said. “Now you have it, along with strong partnerships between the team, the city, the business community and Mayor (Kevin) Johnson.”
Dolich said the Ranadive group also “has a grasp of not just the market locally, but nationally and internationally as well.” And he said Sacramento’s reputation as a small market is inaccurate; the Sacramento television market is the 20th-largest in the county, according to Nielsen, which measures television viewership.
The Sports Business Journal reported that NBC Sports Group – which operates Comcast – will pay the Kings between $25 million and $26 million beginning next year. Those payments will increase by nearly 4 percent a year, the Sports Business Journal reported.
The deal also includes perks for Comcast, which will sell the advertising and sponsorships for in-game, pregame and postgame broadcasts.
The Sports Business Journal reported that the Kings’ deal is comparable to television agreements held by other NBA teams.
The report said the Cleveland Cavaliers are paid $25 million a year by FS Ohio and that the Miami Heat make $20 million a year from Sun Sports. The Los Angeles Clippers were paid $25.8 million last year by Prime Ticket, according to the Sports Business Journal.