Turner tried to capture some of the ManningCast magic by putting the Inside the NBA crew on TBS for Sunday’s All-Star Game.
It was a decent idea, with very little downside. Now, the numbers are in, and the TBS version failed to rival the main TNT broadcast.
NBA All-Star Game:
TNT (Traditional): 5.4 million.
TBS (Shaq, Charles, Kenny, EJ): 852K
All-Star Saturday Night (TNT): 4.2Mhttps://t.co/mu702Werni
— Sports TV Ratings (@SportsTVRatings) February 23, 2022
As with the ManningCast, there wasn’t much of a chance that the alternate stream would rival the main call, of course. But it’s maybe a little telling that the disparity here was 4.5 million viewers. It’s not that it’s a bad idea to have the Inside the NBA team on an alternate broadcast. It’s actually a good idea! But the way Turner decided to do it probably prevented any real traction, even if nearly a million viewers on cable for an alternate broadcast, presumably skewing younger, is still very respectable. And some of their other broadcast choices paid off, especially having players mic’d up.
The original plan was reportedly to have Charles Barkley on the TNT call with Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller, but that was changed fairly late in the process to the alternate TBS broadcast path. Announcing an entirely new broadcast with less than a week to go before the game offered very little time for promotion. Had Turner pulled the trigger on the move earlier in the season, the Inside the NBA crew could have promoted their alternate stream for a much longer period of time, which would almost certainly have helped grow that audience.
And that’s maybe what will happen going forward, now that they’ve tried it once. Though, honestly, just having Barkley on the TNT broadcast still might have been the best decision all around.