On Friday, the NBA released the schedules for the 22 teams that will continue their regular seasons in Orlando. On July 30th the league will return to play with the Utah Jazz vs. the New Orleans Pelicans at 6:30 EST. The battle of LA between the Clippers and Lakers will follow at 9. Both games will be aired on TNT.
The Boston Celtics Schedule goes as follows:
Friday, July 31st, Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks on ESPN at 6:30
Sunday, August 2nd, Celtics vs. Portland Trail Blazers on ABC at 3:30
Tuesday, August 4th, Celtics vs. Miami Heat on TNT at 6:30
Wednesday, August 5th, Celtics vs. Brooklyn Nets on ESPN at 9
Friday, August 7th, Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors on TNT at 9
Sunday, August 9th, Celtics vs. Orlando Magic (not broadcasted) at 5
Tuesday, August 11th, Celtics vs. Memphis Grizzlies on TNT at 6:30
Thursday, August 13th, Wizards and Celtics (no broadcast scheduled, time TBD)
A couple of interesting aspects stand out. The first being that the NBA will be airing games throughout the day. Contests often start as early as 1 on weekdays, and the last tip off begins at 9. All day long NBA fans will be able to get their basketball fix.
With many people still at home, the NBA will capitalize on time slots they never have before. Putting weekday games in the afternoon was a heady move by the league. It will be interesting if this thinking translates into the postseason. While that is unlikely to happen, if the ratings for these early games are high, the NBA might want to consider weekday playoff games as an option.
However, something else stands out from this schedule. Not every game will be broadcasted. 46 of the first 76 games are scheduled to be aired on either TNT, ESPN, NBA TV, or ABC. The last 11 games have not been put into any broadcast or time slot yet.
It was probably not feasible to broadcast every single game on one of these four networks or other channels. However, will fans simply be out of luck if their team is not on tv?
Celtics fans are lucky, because as of now six of their eight games are on one of the four networks. Will the NBA have a streaming service for non-tv games? The league must have a plan. Fans have waited months for these games, they want to watch as much as possible.
Last point has to do with the competition of other professional sports. Since the NBA was the first league to announce a post-stoppage schedule, how will the other leagues respond? Will the NHL also air weekday games? Do they broadcast the round-robin tournament games and play in series at the same time? How does MLB’s season fit into this sports schedule? How will the NFL affect the other three leagues when their regular season kicks off?
We will start to answer some of these questions once the NHL and MLB announce their schedules. How these ratings play out across the country will be fascinating. All four leagues will hopefully be playing very meaningful games in September. Professional sports has never seen such a battle for our eye-balls.
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones