The full 2019-20 NBA schedule was released this afternoon. One of the most interesting aspects of it was the change made to the league’s late-night national television tip times.
According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, the league has decreased its number of 10:30 p.m. ET national TV tip times from 56 to 33. Additionally, the Los Angeles Lakers saw their number of nationally-televised 10:30 p.m. ET games reduced from 19 last season to 10 for this year.
Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors will play 11 times on national television at 10:30 p.m. ET as opposed to the 18 occasions they did so in 2018-19.
The reason for this is simple. The NBA ratings dropped last season, so the league is trying to get its biggest star (LeBron James) and its most recent dynasty (Golden State) on as much as possible in better time slots.
TV News: NBA alters national schedule to solve its LeBron James problem https://t.co/Ciup95e1KD
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) August 12, 2019
The league’s weekly ESPN and TNT doubleheaders are being altered to accommodate the reduction of 10:30 p.m. ET starts. ESPN’s Wednesday doubleheaders and most of TNT’s Tuesday back-to-backs will be moved up slightly, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
TNT’s Thursday double dips and ESPN’s Friday night twin bills will remain at 8/10:30.
Sources: Earlier times for national TV doubleheaders this season: 22 of ESPN’s 36 doubleheaders and 12 of TNT’s 31 doubleheaders to start at 7:30/10 PM ET or 7/9:30 PM ET instead of 8/10:30 PM.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 12, 2019
On the surface, these moves make a lot of sense as the NBA looks to regain some of the eyeballs it lost last season with James’ departure for LA.