There was a time when NBA PR reps disguised as sports pundits — people like Jalen Rose and Bomani Jones — said the NBA would soon surpass the NFL in national popularity. That was two years ago. These schmucks were so wrong that the NBA is now breaking tradition because it is too cowardly to compete with the NFL.
Thursday nights have long been when the NBA has aired its signature weekly broadcasts, a double-header on TNT leading into the popular Inside the NBA. But since the NBA began sharing Thursdays with the NFL in recent years, sports fans have tuned out the NBA and turned on the NFL. Stunner.
In other words, the NBA has decided to leave with its tails between its legs while the popular kids take over its territory. Pathetic.
Here’s part of Stein’s report:
“I duly consulted TNT’s schedule and learned that they will be a Tuesday Nights Only operation for the rest of 2021.
“You read right. The network known for its Thursday night broadcasts and the best studio show in sports won’t have a basketball game on Thursdays again until January 2022.”
It’s unclear whether the NBA and Turner will run scared next year or not. Remember, Amazon Prime Video takes over as the exclusive home of Thursday Night Football at the start of the 2022 season.
Though it’s closing, the gap between live sports on linear television and streaming remains wide. I expect TNF to decline in reach after moving from Fox to Amazon. Still, the NFL is so much better and more significant than the NBA that the NBA on Thursdays could remain damaged goods during football season.
For those who still watch the NBA regular season, TNT will air its games on Tuesday for the remainder of 2021.