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Celtics near major broadcast rights deal with Comcast New England

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 26: Fans reacts after Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics scored a basket against the Miami Heat at the TD Banknorth Garden on October 26, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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Just months after the Los Angeles Lakers brokered a deal that will pay the franchise handsomely to be the anchor of a new regional sports network in that city, the Boston Celtics are near their own blockbuster deal.

The Celtics and Comcast Sports Net New England (CSNNE) are close to a 20-year extension of their deal, one which would give the Celtics part ownership of the regional network, reports the Sports Business Journal.

The Boston Celtics, one of the NBA’s storied franchises, are finalizing a lucrative media rights package with Comcast SportsNet New England that will extend their current deal by 20 years with a big jump in its annual rights fee, as well as give the team a stake in the network.

Multiple sources said that the Celtics and Comcast are close to a long-term media rights deal despite the NBA lockout that has thrown the league into economic uncertainty....

The proposed deal, which could be finalized in the next few weeks, would extend the Celtics’ media deal to 2038 from the current agreement that runs through 2017. In addition, the team would take up to a 20 percent equity stake in the regional sports network (RSN) and receive a healthy increase in its annual rights fee. The Celtics currently get between $15 million and $20 million annually, which is considered below market for such a strong franchise.

You can be sure that the players union is taking note of this as the discussions of a new labor deal move very slowly forward. One of the union’s arguments is that the owners need to do a better job sharing revenue to help lift up the franchises not making money (currently none of the local broadcast rights fees are shared).

In addition, this is why the players have fought to keep their take as a percentage of league revenues (the old deal had it at 57 percent of the gross, the players have offered to drop to 54 percent but the owners want much more steep cuts and to move away from a guaranteed percentage). Both local and national broadcast rights for the NBA are expected to increase in the coming decade and the players want to make sure that they get a portion of that revenue.