When Allen Iverson, Chauncey Billups, Mike Bibby, Kenyon Martin, Jermaine O’Neal and other retired NBA stars take the court this summer for the inaugural BIG3 basketball tournament, they’ll do so in front of FOX and FS1 cameras.
On Wednesday, league founder Ice Cube and commissioner Roger Mason appeared on FS1’s Undisputed to announce the partnership.
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) March 22, 2017
The BIG3, a 3-on-3 tournament featuring former NBA players, will feature a stacked lineup in its first year and should inspire some curiosity from viewers. Allen Iverson playing competitive basketball once again is alone almost too much to resist.
In a way, FOX’s commitment to the BIG3 mirrors ESPN’s partnership with The Basketball Tournament, another semi-gimmicky summer hoops event. That relationship has worked out well for ESPN, so there’s recent precedent for this kind of thing paying off. And given that the BIG3 should have a shinier roster of players, you’d expect it would be even more popular than TBT.
Of course, investing in an event that has never happened before is risky. The BIG3 could draw hundreds of thousands of viewers and become a big hit. Or it could collapse midway through the season. The concept is certainly appealing, but who knows whether the event will be well-managed or well-promoted.
In his announcement on FS1, Ice Cube didn’t indicate whether the agreement between the BIG3 and FS1 extended past the inaugural season, so it’s possible that the sides are viewing this summer as a trial run.
The first game of the BIG3 will air Monday, June 26 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1. The tournament’s championship game is scheduled for August 26 on FOX.