NBA and Silnas are negotiating
After nearly four decades of paying out millions, the NBA is engaged in talks with Ozzie and Daniel Silna to end what is considered as "the greatest sports business deal of all time," according to NBC and ESPN, citing sources close to the situation.
According to NBC, a "conditional agreement" with the Silna brothers was announced last month by the league that aims to resolve the matter -- and it allegedly holds benefits for both sides.
The Silna brothers were the co-owners of a former ABA franchise known as the Spirits of St. Louis. When the ABA merged with the NBA in '76, these guys made a decision that every investor would dream of. In exchange for dissolving their team, they received a small percentage of the NBA's future broadcast revenue.
It didn't seem like much to the league at the time, but they are definitely regretting the deal now more than the Silna Bros are. The NBA has $7.4 billion in TV contracts with ABC/ESPN and TNT. The Silnas see 1/7 of the television revenues of the four ABA teams that were absorbed: the Spurs, Nuggets, Nets and Pacers.
Yup ... laughing straight to the bank with it. And guess what else the deal entails? The income goes on without an end date. Last season the Silnas made a cool $19M without putting in any effort whatsoever.
After making $300M since the deal was reached in '76, a judge recently ruled that the Silnas also have rights to Internet revenue. Talk about hitting the lottery.
The Silnas have been cutting into the revenue of the 30 NBA owners and the league has been trying to settle the contract for some time now.
The pending agreement that NBC reports exists allegedly would settle a suit brought by the Silnas for money from NBA TV and from broadcasts in other countries. NBC claims that the deal would still grant the brothers money from the league's annual TV funds, but it's unclear what that figure would be.