The AT&T-owned entertainment company said Monday that it struck a new “multi-year” deal with the celebrated basketball analyst that will extend his reach beyond his regular duties on Turner Sports. O’Neal, who has been with Turner Sports since 2011 and is part of a broadcasting team that is a central element of the company’s NBA coverage, will executive-produce projects for the company’s Bleacher Report; develop a new show for NBA TV; be part of CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage “for years to come”; distribute his podcast via WarnerMedia; and, potentially, appear in TNT’s coverage of All Elite Wrestling.
“Shaq is so critical to our success, and such a huge part of the heart and soul of our coverage,” said Jeff Zucker, Chairman, WarnerMedia News and Sports, in a statement. “We are lucky to be able to have him as part of our family every single day, and I am personally so thrilled to see that continue for a long time to come.”
Since AT&T acqiured WarnerMedia for around $85 billion in 2018, the company’s sports division – not the industry’s largest, but one to watch due to its lucrative rights deals with the NBA, Major League Baseball and the NCAA – has placed new emphasis on developing sports properties it can own outright. Earlier this year, Turner Sports launched a celebrity-golf tournament with Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady that did not hinge on any particular contract with an existing league.
O’Neal remains best known for his 19-year NBA career. The 15-time NBA All-Star was part of four NBA championship teams – three with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat. He was inducted in 2016 into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.