As exciting as it was before the season when it was announced the Spurs would have (something like) 18 games nationally televised games after a grand total of one last season, obviously due to the excitement surrounding the arrival of Victor Wembanyama, it seems the NBA has decided that the Spurs may not be quite ready for so much primetime, with the team announcing broadcast and tipoff changes for a few upcoming Spurs games, including two this week.
- Friday’s game at home against the Charlotte Hornets, which was originally scheduled for a very late 9 PM tipoff on ESPN and locally on KENS5, has now been removed from the national broadcast rescheduled for a more typical 7 PM tipoff on Bally Sports. (With both teams struggling and missing key players, I guess the Wemby vs. Brandon Miller matchup lost some of the hype it had in Summer League.) The Pelicans-Nuggets game will take over the 9 PM slot on ESPN.
- Saturday’s home game against the Chicago Bulls will remain a 7:30 PM tipoff, but likely as a means to keep up with their contractual obligations to local channels, the broadcast has been switched to KENS5. Considering it’s a SEGABABA, the Spurs probably welcome the extra two hours of rest. (Maybe that’s another reason for change the night before: the timing was too cruel.)
As someone who relies on League Pass, I actually welcome any removal of nationally televised broadcasts, because then I can listen to Bill Land and Sean Elliott (and/or Dan Weiss and Matt Bonner) instead of national voices like Reggie Miller continue to say “Wembanyana”.
It was also announced last week that the January 24 matchup against the Thunder would be moved from the primetime of all primetime spots on ABC over to ESPN, as well as have local coverage on CW35. Tip-off will remain at 8:30 PM, and Suns vs. Mavericks will take over the ABC slot. If the Spurs don’t start translating their recent improvement to wins soon, don’t be surprised if more nationally televised games are dropped in the future.
Tonight’s “highly anticipated” game against the Detroit Pistons is still set for a 6:00 PM tipoff on Bally Sports.