Saturday night just became even better. NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC, the first primetime NBA weekend series on broadcast television, will launch tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET when the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James host the Chicago Bulls and Jimmy Butler.
The game will mark the debut of new Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue, who was promoted from assistant when David Blatt was fired Friday afternoon.
Vice President of Programming and Acquisitions, Julie Sobieski, answered a few questions with Front Row about the new series.
How did the idea of launching NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC come about?
The idea came out of ongoing, strategic conversations with the league, which we’ve been having over the past year. 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.
What was the thought-process in choosing games for Saturday night?
The NBA is clearly ascending with marquee players and rising stars like Steph Curry, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and LaMarcus Aldridge. This new Saturday prime-time package will expand upon those major storylines by creating a “big-game” feel and will showcase the sport’s top teams and most compelling storylines.
The NBA has enjoyed tremendous success on ABC, including winning the night 48 consecutive times during the NBA Finals. ABC and ESPN will “own the NBA weekend” with marquee games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Additional note: Play-by-play commentator Mike Breen and NBA analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson will provide game commentary during NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC.
NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC Schedule
|Sat, Jan. 23||8:30 p.m.||Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers*|
|Sat, Jan. 30||8:30 p.m.||San Antonio Spurs at Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Sat, Feb. 20||8:30 p.m.||Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers*|
|Sat, Feb. 27||8:30 p.m.||Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Sat, March 5||8:30 p.m.||Houston Rockets at Chicago Bulls*|
|Sat, March 12||8:30 p.m.||Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs*|
|Sat, March 19||8:30 p.m.||Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs|
|Sat, April 9||8:30 p.m.||Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago Bulls|