The 2015-15 NBA schedule is out and the national TV partners have announced the games they will air this season. As you would expect, the national TV schedule is very Cleveland Cavaliers-centric.
Let’s take a look at the schedule and see the winners and losers for the NBA on TV in 2014-15.
1. The Cleveland Cavaliers are on national television 35 times this season
That’s right, 43% of the Cavs’ games will be seen on national teleivison in 2014-15. ESPN and TNT have exercised their option to air the Cavs and LeBron James for the maximum 10 games each. They’ll make another 9 appearances on NBA TV and an additional 6 times on ABC including Christmas Day.
2. You’re going to get sick of Cleveland-Miami games
All of the Cleveland-Miami games will be on national TV this season. It begins on Christmas as ABC carries the game where LeBron returns to Miami at 5 p.m. ET. Then ESPN has them again on Wednesday, February 11 and Monday, March 16, both in primetime. TNT has the final matchup between the two teams on Thursday, April 2.
3. Cleveland is not the only team getting the maximum out of ESPN and TNT
The Oklahoma City Thunder reach the maximum ten appearances on ESPN as do the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, LA Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers.
Getting nine, just one under the max, are Golden State, Houston, LA Lakers, Miami, New York and Washington.
On TNT, Chicago joins Cleveland in getting the most appearances on a network with ten games. The Clippers, Lakers, Oklahoma City and Golden State will be aired nine times. San Antonio appears seven times (unsurprisingly getting the short straw yet again). Houston, New York, Portland, Phoenix get six appearances. The Miami Heat get only four appearances on TNT this season.
4. ESPN has two NBA studio shows now
NBA Countdown returns as ESPN/ABC’s regular pregame show. As we reported earlier this week, Bill Simmons breaks away from that program to get his own show, the Grantland Basketball Show which will have people from Grantland (naturally) and other entities. It will air as many as 16 times this season. The show will allow Simmons to talk as much as he wants and will prevent him from pouting as he did during the NBA Finals.
5. There’s a game in Mexico
Yup. The NBA is playing one game in Mexico City and it’s Houston-Minnesota on Wednesday, November 12 at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN. Minnesota is actually the “home” team in that game. Insert joke here.
6. There’s a game in London, too
Just like last season, the NBA travels to the O2 Arena across the pond in London for the New York Knicks-Milwaukee Bucks game on Thursday, January 15 at 3 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. UK time. Why not expose the awfulness of the Knicks to an entirely new continent?
7. What happened to the Boston Celtics?
Oh, how the mighty have fallen! A once-proud franchise that is in the midst of rebuilding, it has only four national appearances this season, one on ESPN and three on NBA TV. The NBA really makes a team earn its way back to national television. Think of it as professional basketball’s version of the English Premier League’s relegation.
8. Any live streaming?
WatchESPN will stream all of the games on ESPN (of course). ABC’s games will be streamed on the WatchABC app (your cable or satellite provider requires an agreement to watch the games). And WatchTNT will stream all of NBA on TNT games live.
As for local streaming, the NBA is beginning to simulcast live games online, but it all depends on your team and your regional sports network. Check with your provider in your local market.
9. So how many games will there be on national television this season?
NBA TV airs 97 games in 2014-15. ESPN has 75 games with an additional 15 on ABC. TNT has 53 games. So you can have access to a total of 240 games across three networks. That’s definitely wall-to-wall basketball when you think of it and we’re not even talking John Wall.
10. The Knicks and Lakers are on national television way too much, again
The Knicks and Lakers finished a combined 38 games under .500 last season. And yet, these big market giants will appear on national television a combined 51 times this season. The Lakers, who went 27-55 last year, will appear 28 times on national TV. Any time your number of television appearances matches how many games you finished under .500, it’s not a good thing. If the Knicks and Lakers struggle as much as they did last year, get ready for a lot of bad basketball on your television screens.
So there are your ten takeaways for this season. Enjoy the games.