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NBC Sports activities may purchase again rights to ‘Roundball Rock’ if it airs NBA video games once more, composer John Tesh says

In the pantheon of theme songs for TV sports, “Roundball Rock,” John Tesh’s anthem that accompanied National Basketball Association games on NBC until 2002, is arguably the greatest. If NBCUniversal wins the rights to air the NBA again, it would have a chance to bring back the iconic tune, the composer told CNBC in an

NBC Sports activities may purchase again rights to ‘Roundball Rock’ if it airs NBA video games once more, composer John Tesh says

Within the pantheon of theme songs for TV sports activities, “Roundball Rock,” John Tesh’s anthem that accompanied Nationwide Basketball Affiliation video games on NBC till 2002, is arguably the best.

If NBCUniversal wins the rights to air the NBA once more, it could have an opportunity to convey again the enduring tune, the composer instructed CNBC in an e-mail.

Comcast’s NBCUniversal has made a suggestion that averages $2.5 billion per yr to as soon as once more purchase NBA rights after shedding them 22 years in the past to Disney, in line with folks aware of the matter. The Wall Road Journal first reported the main points of NBC’s bid. Comcast is the mother or father firm of NBCUniversal, which owns NBC Information and CNBC.

The NBA desires three media companions this time round, and is near offers with each Disney and Amazon for 2 of the packages. The third one will doubtless go to Warner Bros. Discovery or NBCUniversal, however not each, stated the folks, who requested to not be named as a result of the talks are non-public.

Warner Bros. Discovery continues to be in talks with the league to maintain the rights. Nonetheless, NBCUniversal’s supply greater than doubles the $1.2 billion that Warner Bros. Discovery presently pays. That could be too expensive for Warner Bros. Discovery, whose market capitalization of $18 billion is dwarfed by Comcast’s $150 billion.

Warner Bros. Discovery Chief Government Officer David Zaslav has preached a message of financial discipline since taking up the corporate, together with by slashing jobs and chopping spending on content material, to scale back debt and enhance free money circulate. He’s stated he’s not enthusiastic about being within the “rental enterprise,” as is the character of licensing sports activities rights, although he has additionally expressed optimism about retaining NBA rights.

Spokespeople for Warner Bros. Discovery, NBC and the NBA declined to remark.

Nostalgic NBA followers affiliate “Roundball Rock” with “The NBA on NBC” and an period outlined by Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls’ dominance and the voices of Bob Costas and Marv Albert. USA At present voted it No. 1 in a 2017 rating of “The 25 biggest sports activities TV themes.” The Ringer revealed an oral history article about its origin, and NBC’s “Saturday Night time Dwell” did an entire sketch about it.

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The tune has not heralded the beginning of an NBA sport since 2002, when NBC broadcast its final league contest. Fox Sports activities acquired the rights to the theme to make use of for college basketball for the 2018-19 season, however a technology of followers nonetheless affiliate the tune with NBC.

If NBC Sports activities wins the rights, it’s free to as soon as once more license “Roundball Rock” from Tesh, who owns the tune, the composer stated in an e-mail.

Fox’s deal for “Roundball Rock” doesn’t preclude any media firm from utilizing the tune for NBA video games, Tesh stated.

Media firms usually purchase the rights to the tune in three-year increments, Tesh stated. He declined to say how a lot he’s paid as a result of the contracts embody non-disclosure agreements, however Tesh famous he’s additionally compensated with royalties based mostly on the quantity of instances it will get performed. The Ringer reported in 2020 that Tesh’s jingle aired an estimated 12,000 instances in the course of the 1990 to 2002 period on “NBA on NBC.”

“It’s humorous how folks battle for the tune,” Tesh stated. “In 1990, it was simply one other theme. Now the web is full of folks enjoying the tune on Ukulele, Casios and educating it on guitar. We nonetheless play the tune at each live performance and present the YouTube movies of those folks.”

If the NBA airs on NBC once more, it could begin within the 2025-26 season. And relaxation assured, followers: “Roundball Rock” is accessible.

Alex Sherman, CNBC

Alex Sherman covers media for CNBC. 

Lillian Rizzo, CNBC

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