For many broadcast TV networks, Saturday prime time has long been a night repeat episodes and other repurposed content for broadcast networks.
Now, between Disney’s ABC and ESPN cable sports network, the two nets will combine to televise four nights a week -- Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday between January-April -- including three in prime time.
Last season, regular season NBA games on ABC averaged a Nielsen 3.59 million viewers; NBA games on TNT were at 1.67 million; and ESPN at 1.51 million. All have sunk to low levels versus previous season, with the highest viewership obtained around the 2010-2012 seasons.
ABC has been airing college football games “Saturday Night Football” since 2006 -- some 12 weeks of games in the fall. For 2014-2015 season, which ended December 2014, the games averaged 6.1 million up from 5.6 million viewers versus the year before.
ABC had previously aired doubleheaders on Sundays as part of its “NBA Sunday Showcase” and will now air one exclusive game on Saturday nights and one on Sunday afternoons. ABC will now broadcast 16 exclusive regular-season NBA games, beginning on Christmas Day.
ESPN will continue to televise weekly, prime-time doubleheaders on Wednesdays and Fridays.