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NBA deal points way to your future, friends

I know that sports business news makes your eyes glaze over. For one thing, the numbers -- now in the billions -- are so huge, no one can figure out their relevancy. And for another, those business stories don't affect your point spread one bit, do they?

But we think this one is important. The NBA just signed a new media rights package with the Walt Disney empire (ABC and ESPN) and Time Warner Inc.'s TNT that begins in 2008 and goes through 2015-16 (wow, that seems like Buck Rogers time, doesn't it?). It will pay the league $7.4 billion, which is about $930 million a year. That happens to be more than a 20 percent increase over the NBA's current media rights deal -- despite the fact that the TV ratings for the championship series between Cleveland and San Antonio were in the Law & Order rerun range.

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This about games that you (or your kids) will watch on the computer and increasingly, I firmly believe, on a handheld device that you'll get for Christmas in a year or two or three. You see folks, this new NBA media rights deal is less about Kobe Bryant and more about you. It's your developing habits for watching sports and getting information of all sorts that we're getting a glimpse of here. Adapting to your life and your schedule is what this is all about. And that's how Disney and Time Warner can justify coming up with all that cash.

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Changing times, my friends.

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