- New Eight-game Saturday Night Slate to Showcase Biggest Stars, Marquee Matchups Starting January 23
- ABC & ESPN Combine to Televise NBA Regular-Season Games Four Days Per Week
Beginning in January, ESPN on ABC will launch a new, weekly prime-time NBA series with the debut of Saturday Night NBA on ABC. The exclusive, eight-game schedule – featuring the sport’s biggest stars and most compelling matchups – will begin January 23, 2016 with weekly game telecasts at 8:30 p.m. ET. NBA Countdown – ABC’s and ESPN’s NBA pre-game show – will precede the games at 8 p.m. The announcement was made today by ESPN President John Skipper and Disney/ABC TV President Ben Sherwood. Game selections will be announced in the coming weeks. (The ABC schedule is below).
As a result of this new prime-time series, ABC and ESPN will now combine to televise NBA games four days per week (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday), January-April, including three in prime-time. ABC had previously aired doubleheaders on Sundays as part of its NBA Sunday Showcase and will now air one exclusive game on Saturday nights and one on Sunday afternoons. In total, ABC will broadcast 16 exclusive regular-season NBA games, beginning on Christmas Day. ESPN will continue to televise weekly, prime-time doubleheaders on Wednesdays and Fridays, generally at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. throughout the regular-season.
John Skipper, ESPN President:
“The creation of Saturday Night NBA on ABC is an important moment in the long, successful relationship between ESPN and the NBA. The NBA’s massive popularity continues to open doors for new, collaborative opportunities, and this new series demonstrates ESPN’s commitment to showcase the NBA as often – and across as many platforms – as possible. Saturday night games will be highlighted by the NBA’s biggest stars, top rivalries and most compelling storylines. We expect to establish this series as a big-game destination for NBA fans, along the lines of what we’ve accomplished in college football with Saturday Night Football on ABC.”
Ben Sherwood, Disney/ABC TV President:
“Through our great partnership with ESPN, we’re thrilled to be able to bring the best in basketball to our prime-time viewers on Saturdays beginning this January while building on our great Sunday afternoon NBA lineup.”
NBA on ABC schedule – 2015-16 regular-season
|Fri., Dec. 25||2:30 p.m.||NBA on Christmas Day|
|Fri., Dec. 25||5 p.m.||NBA on Christmas Day|
|Sat., Jan. 23||8:30 p.m.||Saturday Night NBA|
|Sat., Jan. 30||8:30 p.m.||Saturday Night NBA|
|Sun., Jan. 31||3:30 p.m.||NBA Sunday Showcase|
|Sun., Feb. 7||2 p.m.||NBA Sunday Showcase|
|Sat., Feb. 20||8:30 p.m.||Saturday Night NBA|
|Sun., Feb. 21||3:30 p.m.||NBA Sunday Showcase|
|Sat., Feb. 27||8:30 p.m.||Saturday Night NBA|
|Sat., Mar. 5||8:30 p.m.||Saturday Night NBA|
|Sun., Mar. 6||3:30 p.m.||NBA Sunday Showcase|
|Sat., Mar. 12||8:30 p.m.||Saturday Night NBA|
|Sun., Mar. 13||3:30 p.m.||NBA Sunday Showcase|
|Sat., Mar. 19||8:30 p.m.||Saturday Night NBA|
|Sun., Apr. 3||3:30 p.m.||NBA Sunday Showcase|
|Sat., Apr. 9||8:30 p.m.||Saturday Night NBA|
.(Note: NBA Countdown will precede NBA Sunday Showcase games, generally, at 3 p.m.)
Saturday Night NBA on ABC will join the network’s successful college football package – ABC Saturday Night Football – which debuted as the first of its kind in 2006. Saturday Night NBA on ABC will also be available on both the ESPN3 and WatchESPN platforms.
In addition to Saturday Night NBA on ABC and NBA Sunday Showcase, ABC is the exclusive home of the NBA Finals, which was the most-watched in ABC history in 2015. An average of nearly 20 million viewers viewed a thrilling six-game series as the Golden State Warriors – led by Stephen Curry – defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers – led by LeBron James. The network also airs exclusive games on Christmas Day – which delivered double-digit viewership increases in 2014 – and games during the first and second rounds of the NBA Playoffs.
ABC and ESPN are entering their 14th consecutive season as a national broadcast partner of the NBA (since 2002-03 season).The entities will begin a new rights agreement at the commencement of the 2016-17 season.