Thoughts on the National Basketball League staying with Network 10 and what it does mean with their other sports coverage

by Sports Benches

So there we have it, the National Basketball League is staying on with Network 10 as their free-to-air partner for at least another 3 years going into the 2024-25 season. Up until now, they aired back-to-back Sunday afternoon games including some Finals and the Christmas Day match on 10 Peach and 10 Play. Now it will be just the weekly Sunday afternoon game (the main 2.30pm one) on the main channel like it was several times in the past including some Finals with ESPN still being the primary broadcaster for most of the games behind a paywall as well as some occasional free-to-view content via Kayo Sports.

Couldn’t see it coming when it was an easy decision for 10 to keep the NBL even it means being the secondary broadcaster to ESPN like they’ve done two years ago with Fox Sports to keep airing the annual Australian Formula 1 and Motorcycle Grand Prix races which is still ongoing despite losing the majority rights a decade ago. Also the interest isn’t bad too with some great success over the last few years including last season as the league will hope to see some more exposure going forward at the right place at the right time after spending the last couple of seasons on a multi-channel.

With NBL being locked up including the Australian Grand Prix events, where is 10 going from here with their sports content?

Well, they’ve lost the Melbourne Cup Carnival to Nine lately as well as Bellator MMA after the network’s parent owners have sold the competition to Professional Fighters League at the end of last year which means Bellator is now seen via Nine’s paid streaming service Stan Sport. Then you got most of Australian soccer where the National team’s performance isn’t bad while the Matildas is rising but then the A-League domestic leagues is another who is still not on the same page as it once was before. They got two more seasons left to run before the next TV rights deal comes into play from the 2026-27 season.

First of all, the Paramount + paid streaming product grew so slowly then the free-to-air channel had some really low ratings during their first year where 10 changed their arrangement to two free-to-air weekend games on 10 Bold and the all other women’s competition games were made available via 10 Play online ever since. Then you got the parent ownership uncertainty where Paramount could get a new owner and suddenly 10 may no longer be part of their business which could change everything here at the Pyrmont building in Sydney. The question is could we see a bit more free-to-air content to try and get back more lost viewers? and even if the A-Leagues does leave 10, where they’re gonna go? Because not many others would wanna take it when Seven has cricket and Nine has tennis during the other half of the year (which is the summer time).

You could also say that the proposed National 2nd division championship might help from next year but then it’s a product that is yet to be tried and tested. Lots to answer here with Network 10’s long-term plans over the next coming years.

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