Hoops fans will be able to log in to Facebook to watch all nine exhibition games played by the U.S. men and women’s national basketball teams live — although the matches are just a warm-up for the Olympics action in Rio next month.
The USA Basketball National Team exhibition games over the next two weeks will be live-streamed on Facebook for the first time by NBA TV. The goal is to drum up interest in the teams ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and reach a socially engaged audience beyond cable, by tapping into Facebook’s massive user base.
Simulcasts of NBA TV’s game coverage for all nine USA men’s and women’s games will be available on the Facebook pages of USA Basketball and the NBA, with the live-streaming coverage on the social service sponsored by Verizon. The games will kick off Friday, July 22, at 9 p.m. Eastern when the USA Men’s National Team takes on Argentina.
But the appeal of the men’s matches and the subsequent play of the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team will be diminished by the absence of the NBA’s two biggest stars — LeBron James and Stephen Curry. The two superstars, who faced off in the 2016 NBA Finals, are sitting out citing the need to recuperate after the season.
It’s not the first time NBA TV, which is operated by Turner Sports, has used Facebook for live programming: Last fall, the network’s “Real Training Camp,” featuring LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, was simulcast on NBA TV’s Facebook page and NBA.com.
Led by head coach Mike Krzyzewski, the 12-member 2016 USA Men’s National Team roster comprises Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Harrison Barnes, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins, DeMar DeRozan, Paul George, Draymond Green, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Kyle Lowry and Klay Thompson.
The roster of the 2016 USA Women’s National Team, led by head coach Geno Auriemma, includes Seimone Augustus, Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Tina Charles, Elena Delle Donne, Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner, Angel McCoughtry, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi and Lindsay Whalen.
For the men’s games, NBA TV talent will include Marv Albert and Matt Winer on play-by-play, with analysts Grant Hill, Reggie Miller and Steve Smith and reporter Jared Greenberg. The women’s games will be called by Vince Cellini joined by analyst Lisa Leslie, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, and reporter Kristen Ledlow.
Here’s the full schedule of Facebook simulcasts of NBA TV’s USA Basketball exhibition game telecasts (all times Eastern):
- July 22, 9 p.m.: USA Men’s National Team vs. Argentina
- July 24, 8 p.m.: USA Men’s National Team vs. China
- July 25, 10 p.m.: USA Women’s National Team vs. USA Basketball Select Team
- July 26, 10 p.m.: USA Men’s National Team vs. China
- July 27, 7:30 p.m.: USA Women’s National Team vs. France
- July 29, 7 p.m.: USA Women’s National Team vs. Canada
- July 29, 9 p.m.: USA Men’s National Team vs. Venezuela
- July 31, 4 p.m.: USA Women’s National Team vs. Australia
- Aug. 1, 8 p.m.: USA Men’s National Team vs. Nigeria
Pictured above: Kevin Durant, member of the USA Basketball men’s team and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors