ESPN and NBL sign landmark new broadcast deal

Yudai Baba of Melbourne United drives to the basket during game three of the NBL Grand Final Series. Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

ESPN and the National Basketball League have extended their broadcast partnership for a further three seasons as part of an expanded television rights package.

The new deal with the NBL sees an expansion of television and digital rights and, for the first time, extensive live game exclusivity.

All 140 NBL regular season games will be broadcast live, with the vast majority of matches exclusive to ESPN.

ESPN will air all but two games each round exclusively, and also have all key matches throughout the NBL Finals series exclusively.

Head of ESPN Australia/NZ, Kylie Watson-Wheeler said the deal represents the network's desire to share in the growth of the competition and solidify a long-term partnership.

"The National Basketball League has become a feature of ESPN programming and we are thrilled to extend the partnership with an expanded rights package for a further three seasons," Watson-Wheeler said.

"Our audience's appetite for the National Basketball League continues to grow with every season, and this new agreement delivers on that demand from our audience. The 2021-22 NBL season is set to be one of the most exciting on record, and basketball fans can now witness every game live on ESPN."

"The agreement also ensures that ESPN remains the undisputed home for basketball fans in Australia, and the only place to see every game of the NBL"

NBL owner and executive chairman, Larry Kestelman, said the deal with ESPN was a big win for basketball fans.

"The NBL sought, identified and secured a raft of true media partners who we felt would really invest in the league and its clubs, and align with our ambition to take the coverage of our game both here in Australia and in New Zealand, to the next level," Kestelman said.

"We are extremely proud to be again joining forces with ESPN - the home of basketball and the most widely distributed sports channel in Australia. ESPN's commitment to our competition, its clubs and players has been incredible over the past two years and we are delighted to be enhancing our fantastic relationship for at least another three-years."

The new deal comes at an exciting time for the NBL, with the coming season seeing the introduction of a new Tasmanian franchise, the Tasmania JackJumpers.

Matthew Dellavedova's return to Melbourne United following a stellar NBA career also has fans buzzing ahead of the new campaign.

ESPN and ESPN2 are available in Australia on Foxtel, Kayo Sports, Fetch TV.