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Lakers set to have more nationally televised games than the Heat next season

Aug 6, 2013, 10:11 PM EDT

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As we dig into the particulars of the 2013-14 NBA schedule which was released on Tuesday, the amount of nationally televised games awarded to teams is an interesting indicator of perceived interest or predicted success.

But as we’re learning more and more, it’s mostly an indication of market size.

The Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks lead the league in nationally televised appearances with 33 apiece, and the Lakers are fourth on that list with 29 behind the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 30.

By comparison, the two-time defending champion Miami Heat are slated to have just 27 of their games seen by a national audience.

The reasons behind these numbers are somewhat obvious. The Lakers may not be favored to finish the season in contention for a title, but they’re still a team with plenty of star power in Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash, and they have one of the largest fan bases in the league, while playing in the second-largest market in the country.

That translates into interest on a national level, and that’s why you’ll see the Lakers playing in plenty of nationally televised games.

Another thing to keep in mind here is that NBA TV games are included when counting up the national TV schedule — which means these numbers will change before the season is through.

NBA TV has fans vote on which game it will televise on Tuesday nights throughout the season. So, if the Heat (or even the Lakers) are one of the options, you can expect them to get the nod more often than not — again, due to the level of star power and market size much more than simply because of either team’s projected level of success.

It’s actually hilarious how the public perception of the Lakers changes from year to year. A season ago, they were expected to be right there competing for a championship, but due to an insane amount of injuries that prevented the team from ever gaining a level of comfort or cohesiveness, things were derailed essentially from the very start. Yet, the Lakers remained one of the most intriguing teams in the league to watch, if only for the train wreck factor more than anything else.

This year, the Lakers will likely be a little bit better than expected. No one knows when Kobe Bryant will return from his Achilles injury, of course, and no one knows how close he’ll be to his previous level of performance. But if he comes back relatively early and can play at close to what we’ve become accustomed to seeing, L.A. will win plenty, and should be firmly in the mix for a spot in the postseason.

The Lakers won’t be as good as they’ve been in previous seasons, and they won’t be in the championship conversation for the first time in several years. But given all of the dynamics in play, they may be even more interesting to watch — which makes their semi-excessive number of nationally televised games a bit more easy to understand.

  1. kb2408 - Aug 6, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    The LAKERS are the NBA’s pre-imminent franchise. It’s only a matter of time before we take our place back on top of the league.

    • loungefly74 - Aug 6, 2013 at 10:49 PM

      haters can hate…but its true. the past 30 years have proved they are the crown jewel of the NBA.

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 7, 2013 at 1:22 AM

      There ain’t no NBA without the LAKERS brotha!

      • ProBasketballPundit - Aug 7, 2013 at 1:58 AM

        I just want to make sure it’s possible to type “lakers” without capitalizing the entire word.

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 7, 2013 at 2:32 AM

        @ PBP

        Nope.

        And I’d encourage you to show the same respect. Or at least give me a capital L! What does Stephen A. say? “How can you be sooo disssrespectful!?”.

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 7, 2013 at 2:40 AM

        Plus I think they are putting up so many LAKERS games because honestly, you NEVER know when Kobe’s gonna bounce his last ball.

        From now till 2-3 years from now if Mamba does/can stick around, you never know what God has planned. So you better catch him and cherish him while you still can. I don’t ever see there being another Kobe Bean “Black Mamba/ Vino” Bryant ever again. Sadly.

    • cornbreadbbqred - Aug 7, 2013 at 10:39 PM

      Der, I think the word is spelled “preeminent”? I am a Laker fan and cannot give you a pass on that one. Pay attention to your spell check next time. There are literate and legitimately suffering Laker fans out there.

  2. herlies - Aug 6, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    It’s a popular brand sure, but the team just isn’t very interesting. They also do not play an exciting style of basketball.

    The Lakers are old, slow and soft.

    • ranfan12 - Aug 7, 2013 at 12:29 AM

      I suppose that’s why there’s a sold out crowd pretty much wherever the Lakers are playing lol

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 7, 2013 at 12:54 AM

      And yet people will still watch.

    • gcsand1111 - Aug 7, 2013 at 5:46 AM

      lakers are not as old as many think. Just did the math and with the current rosters, the lakers average age is 29 while the heat is 31.

  3. money2long - Aug 6, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    put them on tv, and they will watch. it’s business .

  4. bucrightoff - Aug 6, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    Everyone loves a trainwreck.

    • spthegr8 - Aug 7, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      @Buc
      Not really. Just the hater’s and “Trolls”. Which are you??? Rhetorical question, cuz EVERY Laker fan on this board knows the answer to that question!!

  5. 12444uggg - Aug 6, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    That’s the thing, I don’t think people will watch the Lakers suck in large numbers. The Schadenfreude aside, mediocre basketball isn’t entertaining. I guess the Lakers could be decent, but I’m not counting on it. I’d call this an obvious mistake, but what do I know?

  6. ihavenonickname - Aug 6, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Could the Lakers win more games than the Knicks? It’s possible… maybe we should be complaining about their 33 games

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 7, 2013 at 2:29 AM

      i highly doubt they get close to the knicks. The knicks have chandler, and even though they got Barfbag, his negative impact will have a hard time challenging the combined negative impact of kaman, johnson, and young.

  7. losanginsight - Aug 6, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    16 x Champs for a reason. This is why some cowards leave and can’t handle it. The Big bright lights are in LA.

  8. 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 6, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    It’s not how many nat’l games you have Oct-Mar. It’s how many you have Apr-June. We’ll see who has the most nat’l games when it matters.

  9. rodge1 - Aug 6, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    So that means the Lakers will be the most televised lottery-pick team?… Neat

    • danfrommv - Aug 7, 2013 at 1:04 AM

      I hope so. Being an 8th seed and one-and-done isn’t very interesting or fulfilling. Right Milwaukee? Magical things happen in the lottery in the NBA. Either the Celtics or the Lakers will get Wiggins.

  10. jonsavoy301 - Aug 7, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    It appears that the league is attempting to showcase the Lakers in an effort to lure free agents to LA. As was just illustrated by the article, the Lake Show have one of the biggest fan bases and play in the second largest market. The association can not afford for the Lakers to be bottom feeders, so they have to do all they can to attract the big names. What better way to entice an superstar with an over-inflated ego to join the purple and gold than to show them that they’ll always be on a national stage. Clever, but I think the ploy will backfire.

  11. norvturnersneck - Aug 7, 2013 at 2:04 AM

    The Lakers were drama. Thus, they present great TV ratings.

  12. pop562 - Aug 7, 2013 at 2:55 AM

    Win or lose, I’m always going to watch my Lakers play. Even when Kobe went down with the injury, I was rooting for guys like Steve Blake, Morris and Glock.

    • elcapitanfiscal - Aug 7, 2013 at 4:14 AM

      Congrats on bring one of the few real laker fans..

  13. slippyal2 - Aug 7, 2013 at 3:03 AM

    This is expected considering they will fill out most double headers on TnT and Espn, while playing the late time slot on NBA TV. The competition for national audience for the west coast is weak at the moment, and those are the teams filling in that 2nd time slot. Only ones to draw fans on a national level would be the Clippers and maybe the Warriors. Casual fans wont be tuning in for Kings, Blazers, Jazz, Nuggets, Mavs, or Timberwolves.

  14. antistratfordian - Aug 7, 2013 at 3:14 AM

    Look, I can understand this for the the Lakers… they’re the Lakers. But shouldn’t we be more agitated by the Thunder getting more nationally televised games than the champs?

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 7, 2013 at 3:24 AM

      Hmmm….you’re right, huh. I didn’t think about that. That IS interesting.

  15. program33 - Aug 7, 2013 at 3:57 AM

    The sooner Kobe retires the sooner the Lakers get back to Laker nation. Kobe’s retirement means money freed up in the office and ball movement on the court.

  16. divan22 - Aug 7, 2013 at 7:11 AM

    Of course people will watch the Lakers. They’re the Yankees/Cowboys of the NBA.

  17. aboogy123456 - Aug 7, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    The Heat is a boring team to watch. Lebron just goes to his right and attacks straight line to the basket, and if anybody gets in his way he’ll just go through them and complain about fouls. Lakers may not be as good, but Kobe is a lot more entertaining to watch.

    • miamatt - Aug 7, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      What a joke. The Heat are the best show in basketball, bar none. Even folks who can’t stand them would have to admit that’s true.

  18. chiadam - Aug 7, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    This will give America a chance to see all the nice suits Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant own.

  19. themike31 - Aug 7, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Dumb comparison. The Heat will play most of their games in the early time slot while the Lakers will play most of their games in a later time slot.

    And who else on the west coast does the nation want to see? The Clippers and Warriors are trendy, but the Lake Show still brings the dollars.

  20. miamatt - Aug 7, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    No, no, no, the Lakers are set to have more nationally televised losses than the Heat…. common mistake.

  21. losanginsight - Aug 7, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    16 xChamps for a reason. KB is still the most popular baller in the world. Contrary to Cowards, the Big bright lights are in LA. The heat are playing for a 4 seed this year, then the queen will jump ship..again.

    • jimeejohnson - Aug 7, 2013 at 6:46 PM

      You’re the coward, the putz, and another idiot hater. Other than that you are ok.

  22. learnersdelight - Aug 7, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    look up on facebook and you’ll see that 16m people liked the lakers whereas just 8.5m the heat. The NBA is a big business and the team which attracts more people deserves to be seen more on national tv. period.

  23. jimispackers - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Its all due to the television network contracts.
    Want more nationally televised games? Renegotiate a network contract.
    Btw, no Laker fan here.
    Love Jimi.

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