The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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NBA playoffs cable-only broadcasting hurts fans

As the NBA Playoffs kick into high gear, a lot of people are wondering why the majority of games are shown on cable.

About two seasons ago, NBA commissioner David Stern signed a multi-million dollar package with TNT and ABC, which includes ESPN. When asked the reason for signing a package, which involves most games being broadcasted on cable, Stern responded by saying that the majority of the country now has cable, so it should not affect the ratings.

I am a big fan of Stern, he has a done a lot for the NBA that has made the league better. He globalized the league, made it more popular among the youth and marketed it to new sponsors. He is, however, not in touch with reality when it comes to this television package.

The commissioner needs to realize that a lot of people who enjoy the NBA, especially the playoffs, do not have cable. And the ones who do may only have a basic cable plan that may not include TNT or all of the three ESPN channels that the NBA could be broadcasted on.

Recently, the NBA signed a deal with NBATV, which is a package that really no one has. When it first came out, it was only on satellite TV, which is even more rare than cable. Now, NBATV is on most cable carriers, for an extra fee.

The games that have been on ABC are only on the weekends or a special game, such as Kobe vs. Shaq.

Luckily, the NBA Finals are on ABC but the conference finals are not. The Western Conference Finals are on TNT and the Eastern Conference Finals are on ESPN. Both of who have the exclusive feed, meaning that no local television carriers can broadcast the games.

The first round of the playoffs, local television carriers could broadcast the game along with TNT or ESPN, but after the first round, local carriers are not allowed to carry any games. It is only the cable carriers till the Finals.

For people who cannot afford cable or choose not to have it in their homes, it is an inconvenience for them. They either have to sacrifice watching the game, or about an extra $30 a month. Which in this day, some people may not be able to afford.

They could go to a bar, but then that takes the family environment out of watching the game. And since the majority of playoff games are broadcasted on weeknights, it makes it difficult to go to someone’s house with your children for a viewing party.

I believe this is one of the main reasons why the NFL has taken over the NBA as the most watched professional sport, that and the fact that Michael Jordan retired. But almost every single NFL game is broadcasted on over the air networks, such as FOX, CBS and now NBC.

The only games that will be consistintley be shown on cable next season will be Monday Night Football on the original ESPN, which if a person has cable, they will most likely have.

Whereas during the NBA playoffs, a game could be on ESPN, ESPN 2, NBATV or TNT. Do you see a difference?

Now with all of this being said, the NBA playoff ratings are up, but they are not nearly as high as they used to be or as high as a regular season NFL game is.

If the NBA wants to reach where it once was, it has to connect to fans at their convenience, its own.

Justin Satzman can be reached at

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