A clearer view on the Ballmer Plan for Clippers’ local TV rights

Steve Ballmer, left, with NBA commisioner Adam Silver in 2014. Image (Noel Vasquez/GC Images)

Steve Ballmer, left, with NBA commisioner Adam Silver in 2014. Image (Noel Vasquez/GC Images)

As the Clippers’ current rights deal with Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket ends after this season, team owner Steve Ballmer appears to be content on a short-term renewal, likely with Prime Ticket/Fox Sports West, as he continues to look into how to distribute ancillary programming — not games in particular — on the Internet that is in addition to traditional cable or dish services.
A story posted today on the Sports Business Journal said Ballmer has told those pursuing a TV rights deal that he will “hold back” for now until he can determine how much digital rights could fetch with an over-the-top service that could explore more content that would supplement traditional game coverage.
The SBJ reports that a future deal, which could continue on FSW/PT, would likely double in value, averaging $50 million per season over the current deal that has averaged about $25 million.
The SBJ sources quoted in the story Ballmer’s original thoughts on streaming games through an over-the-top service was not as financially doable at this point, but the “enhanced service” available to authenticated cable and dish users would be similar to what the Washington Wizards have been doing under owner Ted Leonsis.
The NBA helped facilitate the purchase of the Clippers to Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, in the summer of 2014 for a reported $2 billion.

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