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Friday, July 19, 2024
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NBA Hopes To Stoke Summer Interest With In-Season Tourney Reveal

  • ESPN will air a special NBA In-Season Tournament schedule release show on Tuesday.
  • Games don't begin until November but the league hopes to create interest ahead of time.
Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is hoping to capitalize on an August lull in the sports calendar by releasing the schedule for the 2023 In-Season Tournament.

Although the basic formatting is already known, ESPN will air a special NBA In-Season Tournament schedule release show on Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET. Games will begin on Nov. 3 and conclude in Las Vegas on Dec. 9.

Fans will get a first look at the groupings and potential paths to the final. Teams will compete for $18 million. 

The extra push is designed to fuel TV and social media conversations to keep basketball in the spotlight two months before the season begins, filling the space behind other efforts to create year-round interest, including the Las Vegas NBA Summer League, NBA Con, and the always dramatic free-agency season. 

Must-Watch Television?

This fall, ESPN will broadcast the inaugural In-Season Tournament with fellow NBA media rights partner Turner — but the tournament could end up as a broadcast package of its own when the league sorts out its next media deals, which will start in 2025.

Viewership could determine how lucrative an In-Season Tournament package would be worth to interested parties. This past season, a doubleheader of games from the NBA Play-In Tournament averaged 2.6 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN2 — up 14% from the comparable play-in games in 2022.

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