NBA Commissioner "surprised" by post-merger changes between AT & T and Time Warner


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March 15, 2019, 15:39 GMT

By Alyssa Newcomb

When Turner Broadcasting president David Levy announced earlier this month that he was retiring after 33 years, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he was losing a partnership in which they "could complete their sentences".

The relationship between the NBA and Turner dates back to 1984 and is deep. TNT has the rights to postpone NBA games until 2025, due to an agreement reached with Levy in 2014. Turner also runs NBA TV for the league, alongside

But with Levy off the table, this relationship is changing. Silver will now have to deal with a partner who legitimately looks different, starting with a brand new touch.

CNN President Jeff Zucker will assume a broader role including sports oversight for WarnerMedia, which manages properties such as,,, Bleacher Report and B / R Live, a streaming network high-end sportsman. Zucker had previously overseen sports programming and the Olympics when he was president of the NBC Universal Television group.

"I've been surprised by some of the changes they're making, personnel changes," Silver told NBC News. "I come to understand that as an acquirer and after investing a huge amount of money into the integration of these companies, they have a vision of how they want to make the things."

Last month, shortly before a judge of the court of appeal confirms the merger of Time Warner between AT & T and $ 85 million, AT & T and the NBA announced a new multi-year partnership around "Highlights" and opportunities for community involvement. The agreement also aims to find new ways to bring fans closer to the action, whether through virtual or mixed reality, new cameras and other immersive technologies.

"It's no secret that we're going through a transition right now," said Silver. "And a bit of the problem for ESPN and WarnerMedia is that they are still stuck in some of their more traditional distribution deals. But it's not lost for the distributors either. It's a multi-part conversation that we all have: "What's the best way to deliver this great content in the future?"

The NBA is entering for the basics in this new era with this partnership, and Silver has stated that he expects fans to notice a difference. Despite an important case of millennial fans, the league is struggling to reach young fans, string cutters or stringers. They do not have a streaming subscription to watch sports, but want to engage with the NBA.

"I think what we expect from AT & T – and Disney, as owners of ESPN – is recognition that to be competitive, they will have to re-equip their offerings in order to communicate directly with this more fan base. young, "said Silver.

This includes the creation of various content consumption options, be it a smartphone screen, a giant TV or perhaps even a virtual reality headset.

"Historically, it was the same size. Just put the game on the market and whoever looks at it looks at it, "he said.

"We realize now that people want to look at it in different ways," said Silver. "The integration of AT & T technology, their database, their smartphone customers, and the content created by Turner could be a winning formula for a league like the NBA."