Fans will be able to watch NBA action on yet another night next basketball season.
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 sports network announced on Thursday.
The exclusive, eight-game schedule featuring the sport’s biggest stars and most compelling matchups will begin Jan. 23, 2016 with weekly game telecasts at 8.30 p.m. ET.
Pre-game show “NBA Countdown,” currently hosted by Sage Steele with analysts Jalen Rose and Doug Collins, will precede the games at 8 p.m.
“The creation of ‘Saturday Night NBA on ABC’ is an important moment in the long, successful relationship between ESPN and the NBA,” John Skipper, ESPN President, said. “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.”
“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,” Ben Sherwood, Disney/ABC TV President added.
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.
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.