NBCUniversal, under the umbrella of Comcast, has made a substantial offer to regain the rights to air National Basketball Association (NBA) games after a 22-year hiatus, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. The offer averages $2.5 billion per year, significantly higher than the current $1.2 billion paid by Warner Bros. Discovery, the current rights holder. However, this bid has sparked a competition with other media giants like Disney and Amazon, as the NBA intends to partner with three media distributors for its games.

At the center of this bid lies the iconic theme song known as “Roundball Rock,” composed by John Tesh. This anthem, which accompanied NBA games on NBC until 2002, holds a special place in the hearts of nostalgic fans who associate it with the golden era of basketball, dominated by players like Michael Jordan and teams like the Chicago Bulls. Despite being off the airwaves for almost two decades, the song’s popularity remains high, with numerous references in articles, polls, and even comedy sketches highlighting its enduring legacy.

The decision-making process for media companies like Warner Bros. Discovery involves weighing financial considerations against the value of retaining rights to broadcast NBA games. NBCUniversal’s offer, while lucrative, may pose challenges for Warner Bros. Discovery due to differences in market capitalization and business strategies. Warner Bros. Discovery’s CEO, David Zaslav, has emphasized financial discipline, which has resulted in cost-cutting measures within the company. Despite this, there remains optimism about retaining NBA rights, showcasing the complex dynamics at play in the bidding process.

Ownership of the beloved “Roundball Rock” resides with composer John Tesh, who continues to receive royalties for the song’s usage. While Fox Sports acquired the rights to use the theme for college basketball, the possibility of NBC Sports reclaiming the song for NBA broadcasts remains a distinct possibility. Tesh’s commentary on the song’s popularity and impact on modern audiences underscores the enduring appeal of this musical composition, transcending its original purpose as a sports theme.

Should NBCUniversal secure the NBA rights, fans can look forward to the resounding return of “Roundball Rock” in the 2025-26 season. This resurgence would not only evoke memories of past NBA glory but also introduce a new generation of viewers to a timeless piece of sports music history. As negotiations continue behind closed doors, the fate of NBA broadcasting rights hangs in the balance, with “Roundball Rock” waiting in the wings for its triumphant comeback.


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