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ABC and ESPN will combine to televise 90 games during the 2015-16 NBA regular-season, all of which are either exclusive or full-national telecasts. Beginning January 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN on ABC will launch its new, prime-time franchise, NBA Saturday Night on ABC, with a blockbuster matchup – the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James vs. the Chicago Bulls and Derrick Rose.
ESPN will televise NBA Africa Game 2015 – the first NBA game played in Africa – live on Saturday, Aug. 1, at 9 a.m. ET. The game will emanate from Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa, and will air exclusively on ESPN in the U.S. The game will also be available on ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN.
Beginning in January, ESPN on ABC will launch a new, weekly prime-time NBA series with the debut of Saturday Night NBA on ABC. The exclusive, eight-game schedule – featuring the sport’s biggest stars and most compelling matchups – will begin January 23, 2016 with weekly game telecasts at 8:30 p.m. ET.
ESPN will provide comprehensive coverage of Samsung NBA Summer League 2015 from the Thomas and Mack Center and the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nev. SportsCenter will provide regular on-site updates and segments on ESPN throughout the day at the Thomas and Mack Center from Monday, July 13 through Wednesday, July 15. NBA Countdown host Sage Steele will be joined by ESPN NBA analyst and front office expert Tom Penn to anchor SportsCenter coverage.
The 2015 NBA Draft was the most-watched and highest-rated ever on ESPN, according to Nielsen. Thursday’s telecast averaged 3,738,000 viewers (P2+) and a 2.4 U.S. household rating, up eight percent and four percent, respectively, from the 2014 NBA Draft. The telecast peaked from 8-8:15 p.m. ET with 5,131,000 viewers and a 3.3 rating.