NBA to change TV coverage for HEAT
by Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY Sports
The NBA is generally a media-savvy league, so this isn’t too surprising: It is changing its own scheduled TV coverage to put more of a spotlight on the streaking Miami Heat.
Setting aside the normal limits on team appearances on its national TV carriers, ESPN will be allowed to air Monday’s Heat at Orlando Magic game (7:00 p.m. ET), although local broadcasters will remain protected as ESPN’s coverage will be blacked out in the teams’ home TV markets.
And the league’s own NBA TV, in about 60 million of the USA’s 116 million TV households, has added the Heat hosting the Charlotte Bobcats Sunday (6:00 p.m. ET).
The Heat Friday extended its consecutive-game win streak to 25 — as it pursues the NBA-record 33 consecutive wins set by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1971-72 — by beating Detroit in a game that NBA TV added to its on-air schedule Thursday.
Given the obvious historic nature of the streak, why aren’t all the Heat games automatically aired nationally?
Normally, leagues — in various sports — limit the appearances of their marquee teams. In the NBA, that’s done to help protect revenues of individuals teams and their local broadcasters, who otherwise might lose lots of marquee games to national broadcasters.
Before switching Monday’s game, ESPN had just one more Miami game — the Heat vs. Chicago on Wednesday — before hitting the team’s maximum 10 appearances.
ABC will max out — with Miami’s fifth appearance on the network — when the Heat play Chicago on April 14. TNT maxes out — with Miami’s 10th appearance — when the Heat play the New York Knicks on April 3.
Meaning, the NBA’s national TV carriers will have used up their regularly-scheduled Miami games before the Heat could go for win No. 34 against Milwaukee on April 9.
But now those scheduling norms might change depending, of course, on whether Miami keeps streaking.
Hoops P.S. The CBS Sports Network cable channel Saturday adds Craig Robinson, who is Oregon State’s basketball coach as well as President Obama’s brother-in-lawm to its team of studio analysts Saturday.… [For more on NBA to change TV coverage for Miami Heat streak, click here.]