Primetime rematches of June’s highly rated NBA Finals matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers highlight the league’s 2015-16 broadcast schedule, which was announced on Wednesday.
Golden State will host Cleveland as the marquee ABC matchup on Christmas Day, one of five games that day on the ABC/ESPN family of networks. And the Cavaliers will be the host team when TNT broadcasts the teams’ second meeting a few weeks later, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Monday, Jan. 18).
For the 20th straight year, TNT tips off the season with a doubleheader — this year featuring the Chicago Bulls against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the opener, followed by the Warriors receiving their championship rings before hosting the New Orleans Pelicans.
Overall as part of Turner Sports’ 32nd year of NBA coverage, TNT will televise 53 games on Tuesdays and Thursdays in addition to the All-Star Game from Toronto in February.
ABC and ESPN will combine to televise 90 games during the season, with the cable network opening its 14th consecutive year of NBA coverage with a pair of doubleheaders in the season’s first week. On Wednesday, Oct. 28, the San Antonio Spurs take on the Oklahoma City Thunder, followed by the Minnesota Timberwolves against the Los Angeles Lakers in a game that will pit the top two picks of the 2015 NBA Draft. And two nights later, Miami travels to Cleveland and the champion Warriors play in Houston against the Rockets.
One of the changes of this coming season’s television schedule is that half of ABC’s 16-game slate will be spotlighted as part of a new “NBA Saturday Night on ABC” franchise. The Alphabet’s primetime schedule kicks off with the Cavaliers taking on Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 23.
NBA TV starts its 17th year of NBA coverage with five games during opening week, including a Halloween night doubleheader (Golden State-New Orleans and Sacramento-Los Angeles Clippers). The network will also show Cleveland’s visit to Miami on Saturday, Dec. 5, as James faces his former team.
The NBA on TNT, ESPN, ABC and NBA TV will again present flexible scheduling throughout the regular season in order to provide the most compelling matchups to a national audience.
ABC will exclusively broadcast the NBA Finals for a 14th straight season. TNT will air the Western Conference Finals and ESPN will televise the Eastern Conference Finals.
The NBA went to great lengths this season to limit stretches where teams play back-to-back games or four games in five nights, with four-in-fives cut to an average of less than one per team, according to the league.