During the first round of the NBA Playoffs, ESPN controls Friday nights and certain weekend windows. In the case of having three games, normally ESPN would air two games and ESPN2 the other. Tonight, ESPN has that scenario with Toronto-Indiana, Miami-Charlotte and Portland-LA Clippers. The Mothership will take Miami-Charlotte and Portland-Clippers, but tonight is also Night 2 of the NFL Draft, a.k.a. the Annual Player Selection Meeting and the Worldwide Leader has committed the Deuce to airing the NFL this evening, it leaves Toronto-Indiana to another channel in the ESPN Family of Networks.
It means that ESPNews, the channel that usually airs overflow editions of SportsCenter and repeats of previously aired programming, will air the Toronto-Indiana game. And due to the fact that ESPNews is in about 20 million fewer homes than ESPN and ESPN2, NBA TV will simulcast the game with the network.
This would mark the first time we’ve seen such a partnership between ESPN and the league’s own network. And it provides an opportunity for Toronto-Indiana to reach a bigger audience than had it just aired on ESPNews. In addition, NBA TV has aired a number of playoff games not just this year, but previous seasons as an overflow for TNT.
Sometimes circumstances lead to interesting partnerships and with ESPN committed to programming all over the dial, it brings this rare simulcast with ESPNews and NBA TV.