NBA changing 2019 free agency start time to accommodate TV
We all knew this was coming. It seems like every single year most of us a joke about what channel NBA free agency is on. We all yuk it up on Twitter, and while those of us on the West Coast have a comfortable night, East Coasters have to suffer through sleep depravation just to find out whether their favorite player will re-sign with their team or bolt for sunny California.
With the way the NBA has improved its brand over these last few years, it’s no surprise that the league is trying to make free agency -- one of the biggest drivers of interest in the league -- more TV friendly.
And thus NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has confirmed that the league will move the timeline for 2019 NBA free agency to be more accommodating to a TV audience.
Adam Silver makes it clear that free agency will be moved up from midnight EST on July 1 to a more reasonable/TV friendly hour by next summer.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 11, 2018
This makes sense for a couple reasons. First, ESPN had a slate of shows during free agency that were followed by fans as newsbreakers reported live during the heated sections of 2018’s extravaganza.
The NBA has been great at getting more eyeballs on its product, and you can watch a league game just about anywhere you want. The advent of League Pass and even streams for things like Summer League are making the NBA a year-round sport more and more.
Let’s not forget why the NBA cap jumped significantly a couple of years ago. The BRI (basketball related income) flowing to both players and owners has gone up, thanks in part to massive TV deals signed with the league and locally. TV is still the NBA’s best friend, and switching things up so one of the biggest events of the year is on the boob tube is just being a good business partner.
No doubt Twitter will still dominate the news cycle, but having a second screen will be an excellent addition to the summer frenzy.