Clippers owner rejects TV deal

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In a move that doesn’t surprise a few people, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has rejected a recent TV deal worth $60 million a year — at a time when the NBA is making more from television than at any other time in history.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer

The reason, according to sources close to the team, is that Ballmer wants to build a live-streaming service directly from the team to the consumer, with fans paying a subscription fee to watch the games. The potential could be far greater than what TV has to offer, although the Clippers organization would have to pick up the tab for all production costs, which would take a chunk out of the revenue.

Other people suggest Ballmer is just just using the idea of live-streaming to leverage more from the networks looking to score a TV contract with one of the hottest teams in the NBA. Prime Ticket holds the current Clippers TV contract, which runs through the end of this season and their exclusive negotiating period has expired, which means the Clippers can negotiate a deal with anyone.

But, with the success of online streaming, with providers like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and others, professional sports isn’t far behind. Fans can already get some live-streaming through some sports networks, but as of now there hasn’t been a sports franchise going the live-streaming route exclusively.

Ballmer was once the CEO of Microsoft and has a long history in the digital and internet business so it really is not a surprise to people who follow tech news that Steve Ballmer would be the first one to go this route.

(Claudia Gestro contributed to this article, including the photos)