Earlier this season the NBA announced a slight change to the playoff schedule. Sunday night games during the Finals will begin around 8 p.m. EDT instead of 9 p.m.
First-round games in the Eastern Conference also will begin no later than 8 p.m. But East Coast fans will lose a lot of sleep trying to watch the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Want to see Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan or Carmelo Anthony try to lead their teams to the second round? Get ready to stay up for tip-off times as late as 10:30 p.m. EDT.
But is this season’s schedule change a sign that there will be a shift to earlier tip-offs in the coming years? Don’t count on it.
Fans of the Celtics weren’t too happy with the 9 p.m. start times during the 2008 Finals. Especially the parents of children who should have been in bed when the games were just getting started.
But NBA Commissioner David Stern made it clear: Start times will be determined by projected ratings and audience sizes…not by sleep needs.
“The ad rates only go up if the ratings go up,” Stern told a Boston sports radio station last June. “The ratings only go up if there are more people watching.”
Image by Adam Pieniazek