With the National Basketball Association season now at serious risk of being canceled, television stations and their parent companies are scrambling to create prime-time schedules without basketball, reports The New York Times.
The NBA players announced Monday that they had rejected the latest offer from the league, making it likely that the 2011-12 season would be canceled.
Disney’s ESPN and ABC and Time Warner’s Turner Sports together pay $1 billion a season to air the games, which helps drive viewers 18 to 34 to their schedules, the story says. NBA games also provide marketing leverage for new shows, such as TNT’s promotion for “Rizzoli & Isles” during the playoffs last spring, the piece points out.
TNT has replaced NBA games with "CSI: NY" episodes, and is providing advertisers airtime on sibling networks such as TBS and TruTV, the article says. ESPN is offering marketers time during other live sporting events, the piece adds.