News broke on Sunday that the NBA had in fact agreed to a new nine-year deal with ESPN/ABC and Turner Sports that totals approximately $24 billion. Clearly this a monumental deal and will have implications felt league-wide once the 2016-17 deal takes effect.
NBA to announce $24 billion/9 year deal w/ ESPN and TNT on Monday. Annual average value nearly 3x current deal.— Richard Sandomir (@RichSandomir) October 6, 2014
While everyone was focusing on the dollar amount, and rightfully so, once the official press release hit this morning it was actually this little section that caught my eye.
"Beginning with the 2016-17 season, for the first time, at least 20 NBA Development League games and NBA Summer League games will be seen on the ESPN television networks."
Twenty games isn't much, especially if some of those are Summer League games, but it's certainly a move in the right direction for a growing product in the D-League. Right now the D-League can seen be exclusively on YouTube and while it's great to have the games out there (they currently run over 350 games a year) putting the product on national television is a huge step.
So, it's still two years away, but get ready to watch the NBA D-League on ESPN.