Late October is undoubtedly one of the best sports times of the year. With the World Series underway, the NFL season in full swing and the NBA ramping back up, there’s a surplus of riches for sports fans.
However, the concurrent schedules have already led one major league and television network to make a significant change to accommodate viewers.
According to insider Marc Stein, the NBA revealed this week that it will not air its “usual Thursday night programming” on TNT. That means no game, no Inside The NBA pregame show or any other league analysis that evening.
TNT will hold its usual coverage of the NBA on Tuesday nights, but won’t return to Thursday’s until January.
“The NBA will not air its usual Thursday night programming on TNT again until January after Mavericks-at-Hawks last Thursday followed by Clippers-at-Warriors,” Stein wrote on Twitter.
“Rather than go head-to-head with Thursday night NFL games, NBAonTNT entered this season having shifted Ernie, Shaq, Kenny and Charles and the weekly doubleheader they present to Tuesday nights for the rest of 2021 for the first time.”
As Stein reports, it seems like the NBA is avoiding conflict with the NFL’s Thursday Night Football by dumping out of the weekday evening entirely. Many sports fans and media members felt the same, interpreting the league’s decision as a clear admission that the NFL is king.
Latest illustration of the NFL's surging TV dominance: The NBA will not air its usual Thursday night programming on TNT again until January after Mavericks-at-Hawks last Thursday followed by Clippers-at-Warriors.
Full analysis to come here: https://t.co/LGN9cVpeGP
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) October 27, 2021
The NBA quietly made a drastic change because of the NFL's dominance: TNT will not air its usual Thursday night programming again until January 2022. TNT will have Ernie, Shaq, Kenny and Charles on Tuesdays instead of going head-to-head with TNF, per @TheSteinLine. NFL is king…
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 27, 2021
Thursday Night Football is generally not even the NFL's best product and the NBA can't even put something out to compete with that lol
— Michael Sykes, II (@MikeDSykes) October 27, 2021
— Football Chopz (@Pchopz_) October 27, 2021
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) October 27, 2021
Why they should start the season in December , no real human watching a random game over TNF https://t.co/yivLwyAIOG
— B (@lifestylebrazyy) October 27, 2021
big bank take little bank. https://t.co/AGxN2hhyok
— tana talk 3 – track 9 (@no_cut_card) October 27, 2021
It’s difficult to argue with the NBA’s logic. NFL ratings are up across the board and Thursday Night Football in particular is off to a stellar start. Sports fans continue to show that they’re more interested in watching an NFL regular season game over an NBA regular season contest early on in the year.
Still, it’s shocking to see the NBA just completely bail out of Thursday’s in the fall entirely. Time will tell if commissioner Adam Silver has another way to make up the lost nights to diehard basketball fans.