Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Fast-Breaking it Down: National TV Schedule

'Melo will be on national TV 22 times this season; LeBron 32.

By Paul Benedict


On Monday, we posted the official NBA press release concerning the 2005-06 schedule. Today I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at the national TV schedule today. Follow the link if you want to check out the complete schedule-- below I put together a composite compilation for every team listing the amount of games they'll be playing on each network (subject to change obviously). It's interesting to look at because the schedule actually provides a pretty good barometer of what the league and the networks think each team will do this season. Of course there's some exceptions to be mindful of-- the Lakers and Cavaliers merit the most simply because LA is the most popular NBA market and the Cavs have LeBron James. Also notice that TNT, who's doing the Western Conference Finals this season, placed an emphasis on broadcasting more West teams than East. Interestingly enough, there was no apparent discrepancy in what teams ESPN will be featuring despite covering the Eastern Conference Finals this season.

The first thing that struck me about the schedule when I saw it Monday was the lack of exposure New Jersey is getting nationally. For a team that many were predicting to challenge for the Eastern Conference title, you would think they would receive more national coverage than Washington and Golden State, and at least one TNT game. Perhaps the league knew something about the Shareef Abdur-Rahim deal that never went through before we all did. Now that 'Reef is no longer bound for the Jerz, the Nets fall closer to the middle of the pack in the East and 12 national games sounds a bit more reasonable.

I'm also a little shocked that Milwaukee wasn't awarded one game by any of the major networks. In most years, the league tries heavily to push the top draft pick-- especially if they're expected to suit up for a competitive team. Milwaukee does play in the NBA's toughest division, but I still think we can expect a decent team capable of winning no less than 30 games. So explain to me why Portland, a team many are projecting to win less than 20 games, will be on ESPN 3 times and NBA TV 5 times? Oh, wait that's easy-- Sebastian Telfair.

Sebastian Telfair might be the point guard for an abominable team this season, but he's still getting an adequate amount of national television exposure.

Charlotte and Atlanta each play only once on national TV this season-- against each other (12/27). A smart move by NBA TV who decided that a North Carolina reunion might be the only way to interest viewers, but why not pick a Bobcats/Hawks game that would have taken place in North Carolina, at Charlotte's new arena? Makes no sense to me.

I'm glad to see my Warriors on ESPN and TNT 7 times this season, but I really think they deserved even more. Sacramento and Seattle will play a combined 22 times on the major networks, but not only will both of these teams be worse than Golden State, they also won't be nearly as fun to watch. At least there's a Golden State/Phoenix game on the slate (4/14), although it's a little too late for my liking.

A list of 10 early-season games to watch this season--
  1. November 3- Indiana at Miami, 8:00 PM on TNT (East's best?)
  2. November 17- Houston at San Antonio, 9:30 PM on TNT (West's best?)
  3. November 19- Phoenix at San Antonio, 8:30 PM on NBATV (West Finals rematch)
  4. November 22- Houston at Dallas, 8:30 PM on NBATV (Playoffs rematch)
  5. December 2- New York at Detroit, 8:00 PM on ESPN (LB returns to Detroit)
  6. December 18- Houston at LA Lakers, 9:30 PM on NBA TV (T-Mac vs Kobe)
  7. December 25- San Antonio at Detroit, 12:30 PM on ABC (Finals rematch)
  8. December 25- LA Lakers at Miami, 3:00 PM on ABC (Kobe/Phil visit Shaq)
  9. December 26- Denver at Golden State, 10:30 PM on NBATV (Matchup of up-and comers)
  10. December 29- Miami at Detroit, 8:00 PM on TNT (East Finals rematch)

Imagine the ratings boost Knicks games would get this season if LB was forced to wear sweaters as ugly as this one. Yeesh.


And finally, here's the composite breakdown for each team and their national TV coverage:


TEAM

ABC

ESPN

ESPN2

NBA TV

TNT

TOTAL

Atlanta

0

0

0

1

0

1

Boston

1

4

2

9

1

17

Charlotte

0

0

0

1

0

1

Chicago

1

1

1

9

4

16

Cleveland

5

9

1

9

8

32

Dallas

3

7

1

9

8

28

Denver

2

5

1

9

5

22

Detroit

5

8

0

9

6

28

Golden State

0

4

0

6

3

13

Houston

5

8

0

9

7

29

Indiana

5

6

1

8

6

26

LA Clippers

0

1

0

4

0

5

LA Lakers

5

10

0

9

9

33

Memphis

0

1

0

4

1

6

Miami

5

10

0

9

9

33

Milwaukee

0

0

0

2

0

2

Minnesota

2

5

1

9

2

19

New Jersey

1

3

0

8

0

12

New Orleans

0

0

0

1

0

1

New York

2

6

1

9

2

20

Orlando

0

3

0

2

0

5

Philadelphia

5

5

1

9

2

22

Phoenix

4

10

0

8

9

31

Portland

0

3

0

5

0

8

Sacramento

1

4

0

9

5

19

San Antonio

5

6

1

9

9

30

Seattle

1

6

1

6

4

18

Toronto

0

0

0

2

0

2

Utah

0

0

0

1

2

3

Washington

2

3

0

7

2

14

8 Comments:

At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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As the public trust in the media drops amid revelations of misdeeds and ethical lapses, academics and industry leaders gathered in San Antonio on Tuesday to debate the phenomenon's cause - and how to reverse ...

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At 4:18 PM, Blogger YaoButtaMing said...

The above comment is funny. in any event ... since I am a biased Rockets fan i really can't complain ... but as an NBA fan I'd rather see a more spreadout tv schedule then having just a couple teams having the majority of TV time. For example, I'm surprised Memphis and Clippers only get 5 games, and the Warriors should have more then 13 games!!!!!! Little shocked Charlotte and Atl only get 1 game since they drafted some sweet players.

 
At 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

20 games for the fucking knicks? Come on already, I mean brown is a good coach and all, but sheesh.

 
At 11:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

philadelphia and new york were overrepresented on the schedule. In terms of recent success, the grizz definitely got screwed for television appearances. Most importantly, thanks for this break down. I am sure at least a few visitors will have a Pavlovian response to this article. Good Job!

 
At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Atlanta may only have 1 game on the big 5 stations, but I think they also should have some stuff televised on CourtTV.

 
At 1:40 PM, Blogger Paul Benedict said...

Now THAT is a good one! Leave your name holmes

 
At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

last season the bulls were supposed to suck so bad that they were only scheduled to play on national tv once or maybe twice at the beginning of the season.

then, they started winning, and the powers that be added like three or four more national games by the time the season was over.

and this season they have 16 national games.

point is, it's fluid, so don't be surprised if a team "breaks out" that they all of a sudden get a few more national views.

love your blog!

 
At 4:07 PM, Blogger Paul Benedict said...

The Wiz and the Sonics were two other teams that were awarded with a few extra games. It's for NBA TV to make changes such as this because they air so many games and a lot of the ones they plan to show later turn out to be duds. They can also add dates for games as they please. It's a lot tougher for the bigger networks to add games however because for the most part, they play it pretty safe by choosing games they know will be good. For instance, there's always 3 games on Thursdays, TNT's night to air games. A couple times last season they switched 2 of the games and decided to air the game that wasn't originally supposed to be a featured game. But obviously this doesn't happen too often because there's only that single game to choose from. So you're right, the networks can decide to pick up an extra game here or there or even switch around the schedule, but the amount of games a team can pick up isn't very significant, unless you want to count NBA TV.

 

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