NBA 2019-20: Some tip-offs earlier, back-to-backs down again

  • FILE - In this June 5, 2019, file photo, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr speaks at a news conference after Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors in Oakland, Calif. Kerr knows that a new era of Warriors basketball is about to begin. He just doesn't know what that means yet. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File) Ben Margot

Associated Press
Published: 8/12/2019 9:05:23 PM

The NBA schedule is a little bit easier on players.

Fans might be catching a break — and some more sleep — as well.

The league announced its 2019-20 schedule on Monday, featuring another dip in back-to-back games for teams and a major change in the number of nationally televised games starting at 10:30 p.m. on the East coast. Golden State and the Los Angeles Lakers will start several games a half-hour earlier than usual, while broadcasters ESPN and Turner are going to earlier start times on many of their midweek doubleheader nights.

Such a change has been on NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s mind for some time, especially since roughly half of the nation’s television homes are in the East time zone — but now, a number of the league’s biggest stars play on the West coast. It wasn’t uncommon for nationally televised midweek games to end around 1 a.m. or even later last season, and that was not good for ratings.

"It's something that I think we have to address," Silver said in May.

ESPN's Wednesday doubleheaders — mostly at 8 and 10:30 p.m. last season — will begin at either 7 or 7:30 p.m., followed by a second game at either 9:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. in the East. TNT had nine Tuesday doubleheaders last season with the second game starting at 10:30; this season that number is down to two, with the second game now mostly starting at 9:30 or 10 p.m.

In all, there were 57 games on national television starting at 10:30 p.m. last season. That number falls to 33 this season, a dip of 42 percent.




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