Stern in China and admits to consideration in press conference
NBA commissioner David Stern has revealed that there is a consideration of moving game start-times in order to cater for the international audience.
Taking a standard Eastern Conference clash which tips off at around 7.00 p.m. Eastern as an example, that would equate to midnight in London, 4.30 a.m. in New Delhi and 7.00 a.m. in Beijing.
With the league making a conscious effort to grow the game on a global scale, Stern has conceded that it is something that they will have to look at moving forward.
“I think that the NBA is going to have to wrestle over the next decade as more and more of our viewing audience is outside the United States, is what’s the best time for games to be played so that those fans can enjoy them live as opposed to having to get up in China and watch an NBA game at 7:00 in the morning,” he said as reported by Pro Basketball Talk.
“And I think that’s a fun problem that we’re going to be addressing because so much viewing is happening outside the United States now.”
However, with a potential switch to appease any annoyance around the world, Stern would then risk upsetting his core audience in the US.
While the weekend schedule perhaps allows for more flexibility, to host games during the day or early evening during the week would then have a negative impact on the local support which arguably makes the adjustment impossible.
With the Brooklyn Nets taking on the Atlanta Hawks at the O2 arena in London in January, there is a suggestion that more should be done to take regular season games outside of the US.
Much will of course depend on ticket sales and various other aspects of team preparation and willingness to travel, but it would perhaps work better than playing with the schedule.