2012 NBA Playoffs on ABC & ESPN to Tip Off Saturday
Extensive Coverage on ESPN Radio; ABC Ratings Up 10 Percent, ESPN Up 7 Percent for Regular Season
ESPN and ABC's comprehensive 2012 NBA Playoffs coverage - up to 44 games, including The Finals exclusively on ABC - will begin with five games this weekend. ABC's game coverage will begin on Saturday, April 28, when the Miami Heat and their superstar trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh host the New York Knicks - led by Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire - at 3:30 p.m. ET. ABC's coverage will continue on Sunday, April 29, when the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant host the Denver Nuggets and Ty Lawson at 3:30 p.m. Mike Breen will provide commentary for both broadcasts with analyst Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Lisa Salters.
ESPN will televise a primetime doubleheader on Saturday, April 28 - Orlando Magic at Indiana Pacers at 7 p.m. with Dave Pasch, Chris Mullin and reporter Holly Rowe providing commentary; defending World Champion Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki at the Oklahoma City Thunder and scoring champion Kevin Durant at 9:30 p.m. with Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown and reporter Heather Cox calling the game.
ESPN's coverage of the NBA Playoffs follows a regular season that delivered a 7 percent ratings increase on ESPN (Christmas to date) and a 10 percent ratings increase on ABC, according to Nielsen. More details below.
The Kia NBA Countdown pregame show will preview both ABC broadcasts this weekend at 3 p.m. and include commentary from analysts Magic Johnson, Jon Barry, Michael Wilbon and Chris Broussard.
All ESPN games will also be available on ESPN3, ESPN Mobile TV and via the WatchESPN app. The Finals on ABC are scheduled to begin June 12. Additionally, ESPN2 will televise a special one-hour NBA Playoffs Preview on Saturday April 28, at 1 a.m, 7 a.m. and 1 p.m.
NBA Playoffs opening weekend schedule:
Date Time (ET) Game Commentators Network
Sat, Apr 28
3 p.m. Kia NBA Countdown
Magic Johnson, Jon Barry, Michael Wilbon, Chris Broussard ABC
3:30 p.m. New York Knicks at Miami Heat Gm. 1
Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Lisa Salters
ESPN Radio: Jim Durham, Dr. Jack Ramsay ABC, ESPN Radio
7 p.m. Orlando Magic at Indiana Pacers Gm. 1 Dave Pasch, Chris Mullin, Holly Rowe
ESPN, ESPN3, ESPN Mobile TV, WatchESPN
9:30 p.m. Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder Gm. 1 Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, Heather Cox
ESPN, ESPN3, ESPN Mobile TV, WatchESPN
Sun, Apr 29
1 p.m. Utah Jazz at San Antonio Spurts Gm. 1 Mark Jones, Doris Burke, Ric Bucher
ESPN, ESPN3, ESPN Mobile TV, WatchESPN
3 p.m. Kia NBA Countdown Johnson, Barry, Wilbon, Broussard ABC
3:30 p.m. Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers Gm. 1 Breen, Van Gundy, Salters
ESPN Radio: Kevin Calabro, Dr. Jack Ramsay ABC, ESPN Radio
NBA Playoffs schedule for May 4-6 (commentators TBD):
Date Time (ET) Game Network
Fri, May 4
7:30 p.m. Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks Gm. 3 ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPN Mobile TV, WatchESPN
8 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Philadelphia 76ers Gm. 3 ESPN, ESPN3, ESPN Mobile TV, WatchESPN
10:30 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets Gm. 3 ESPN, ESPN3, ESPN Mobile TV, WatchESPN
Sat, May 5
2 p.m. Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic Gm. 4 ESPN, ESPN3, ESPN Mobile TV, WatchESPN
4:30 p.m. Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Clippers Gm. 4 ESPN, ESPN3, ESPN Mobile TV, WatchESPN
Sun, May 6 12:30 p.m. Kia NBA Countdown ABC
1 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Philadelphia 76ers Gm. 4 ABC, ESPN Radio
3:30 p.m. Miami Heat at New York Knicks Gm. 4 ABC, ESPN Radio
NBA on ESPN Radio
The NBA on ESPN Radio will begin its 17th season of NBA Playoffs coverage on Saturday, April 28, and will present exclusive national broadcasts for select first and second round games and every game of the Conference Finals and The Finals. Commentators Jim Durham, Hall-of-Famer Dr. Jack Ramsay, Kevin Calabro and Will Purdue will contribute to the broadcasts during the first two rounds. Durham and Ramsay will then call the Eastern Conference Finals while Calabro and Hubie Brown will call the Western Conference Finals. During The Finals on ABC, Durham, Ramsay and Brown will describe the action, while Ric Bucher will be courtside reporter with Marc Kestecher and Will Perdue serving as on-site studio host and analyst.
NBA Ratings on ESPN Up 7 Percent, ABC Delivers Highest-Rated & Most-Viewed Season
ESPN averaged a 1.5 household rating during the 2011-12 NBA regular season, an increase of 7 percent from the same Christmas to date timeframe in 2010-11 (1.4), according to Nielsen. The 1.5 rating also matches last season as the highest-rated regular season ever on ESPN in a full-season comparison.
ABC delivered its highest-rated and most-viewed NBA regular season ever, averaging a 3.3 household rating and 5,421,000 viewers for its 15 broadcasts during the 2011-2012 campaign, according to Nielsen. The 3.3 rating is up 10 percent from last season (3.0) and 5,421,000 viewers is up six percent from last season (5,110,000). The NBA on ABC is also up nine percent in household impressions, averaging 3,831,000 compared to 3,519,000 last season.
NBA on ESPN Digital Platforms Delivers Gains
During the 66-game regular season, NBA content across ESPN digital platforms - including ESPN.com, the mobile Web, ScoreCenter, ESPN3 and WatchESPN - logged an average minute audience of 70,000 people, up 25.2 percent compared to the same time period last year (Christmas Day through the end of the season). Specifically, the NBA section on ESPN.com generated an average of 1.9 million daily unique visitors (up 12 percent) and an average of 17 million total minutes per day (up 21 percent).
Fantasy and mobile usage logged the biggest gains. NBA content on the ESPN mobile Web averaged 1.5 million daily unique visitors (up 43 percent) and 13.6 million total minutes per day (up 56 percent). Fantasy Basketball on ESPN.com and mobile platforms was also up 57 percent in average daily unique visitors and 69 percent in average total minutes per day.
"Fight To Win" with Cee-Lo Green
ESPN will debut a new NBA Playoffs promo on Saturday featuring Grammy-award winner Cee-Lo Green. The promo will air throughout the weekend during ESPN and ABC's NBA Playoffs coverage.
ESPN.com's comprehensive NBA Playoffs coverage will include:
· Daily Dime Live - a live blog before, during and after each game;
· NBA Today podcast;
· TrueHoop and TrueHoop Network blogs;
· special sections for every postseason series;
· extensive coverage from local ESPN.com sites (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and Dallas);
· pregame and postgame coverage, essays, columns, video analysis for every NBA Playoffs game.
ESPN Social Media
· Facebook - ESPN's NBA Facebook page will include regular updates throughout the NBA Playoffs with videos and imagery, shareable NBA content, polls, instant reactions to memorable moments, "This Day in NBA History" series and other highlights;
· Twitter - ESPN's NBA Twitter - @NBAonESPN - will provide breaking news, game updates, links to ESPN.com stories, photos and more.
ESPN3 & WatchESPN
Fans will also be able to watch every ESPN and ESPN2 postseason NBA game live on their computers, smartphones or tablets via WatchESPN. Additionally, fans will also have access to special simulcasts of The Finals on ABC on ESPN3. WatchESPN delivers live access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and ESPN Buzzer Beater/Goal Line on PCs, smartphones and tablets to fans who receive ESPN's linear networks as part of their video subscription from Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks or Verizon FiOS TV.
ESPN International will present the NBA Playoffs throughout Latin America, Brazil, Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Pacific Rim.