Celtics  owners would probably rather this news come when they aren’t locking their players out while the NBA cries poor, but the C’s and Comcast SportsNet New England are finalizing a broadcasting rights extension that should benefit the team by tens of millions of dollars — if not nine figures — per year, according to a Sporting News report .
Unlike the Red Sox , the Celtics do not currently own the network that broadcasts their games, but this 20-year extension would reportedly give Wyc Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca & Co. a 20 percent ownership stake in Comcast’s regional sports network.
The NBA would have to approve such an agreement, and that might not happen until after the lockout. How much the Celtics take home from the reported deal will also depend on the collective bargaining agreement, as revenue sharing like this is at the heart of the negotiations.
The Celtics and CSNNE began discussions a year ago, and talks started steamrolling in February once the rival Lakers signed a 25-year deal with Time Warner Cable worth an estimated $200 million annually, the Sporting News said. According to a February Sports Business Journal report, the Lakers (4.9) and Celtics (4.8) ranked fourth and fifth in television ratings this past season. Here’s how the Sporting News broke down the financials …
The proposed deal, which could be finalized in the next few weeks, would extend the Celtics’ media deal to 2038 from the current agreement that runs through 2017. In addition, the team would take up to a 20 percent equity stake in the regional sports network (RSN) and receive a healthy increase in its annual rights fee. The Celtics currently get between $15 million and $20 million annually, which is considered below market for such a strong franchise.
So, the C’s broadcasting duo of Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn would only respectively be 91 and 104 years old when the deal expires.
Regardless of how much of this contract is redistributed throughout the league, such a deal would certainly help the Celtics continue to spend the maximum (if there’s a hard salary cap) or even above it (if the league continues its luxury tax), as they have done since Kevin Garnett ‘s arrival.
More importantly, CSNNE writers will have to provide that silly disclaimer the Red Sox reporters at The Globe always include in their stories: “The Celtics have a 20 percent ownership stake in Comcast SportsNet New England.” Sorry, couldn’t resist the industry jab.
Now, if only the NBA could find a way to start making money.