NBA Said to Increase Bank Line of Credit by at Least $1 Billion

The National Basketball Association will increase its credit line by at least $1 billion on the strength of Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers and its new television contracts, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The league has also requested a bump in the commissioner’s line by $175 million to $500 million, said the people, who requested anonymity because the lending pool hasn’t been announced.

The credit pact will be co-led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc., the people said.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass, Citigroup spokeswoman Natalie Elizabeth Marin and JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman Tasha Pelio declined to comment.

Professional sports leagues create loan pools by using collateral such as national broadcast contracts to secure credit and better terms than most teams could individually.

The league’s credit facility was created in 2003 for $1 billion and was renewed in 2009 for $2 billion.

The NBA reaped $5.5 billion in revenue last season. In October, Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc. renewed their contracts to carry NBA games through the 2024-25 season, tripling payments. The networks agreed to pay $24 billion over nine years.

Fitch Ratings Ltd. yesterday upgraded the NBA’s revolving facility to ‘A-’ with a stable outlook.

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