Skip to content

Stern: NBA would consider moving game start times to draw overseas audience

Oct 16, 2013, 10:48 AM EST

Houston Rockets v Indiana Pacers Getty Images

When a standard Wednesday night NBA game tips off at 7 p.m. Eastern, it is midnight in London, 4:30 a.m. Thursday in New Delhi, India, and in Beijing it is 7 a.m. Thursday morning.

For a game trying to grow globally, it’s hard to get a fan overseas to sit down and watch a game live at those times.

NBA Commissioner David Stern was in China, where the NBA sent the Lakers and Warriors for some preseason games, and where the league opened up a school with Yao Ming. At a press conference talk of bringing a regular season NBA game to China came up.

But then Stern talked start times.

“Interestingly, there’s an intermediate step that Yao raised earlier with me, and that is the question of whether the NBA would consider modifying some of the start times of its games so that they would be more accessible to international audiences at a more convenient time for them to watch. And I think that the NBA is going to have to wrestle over the next decade as more and more of our viewing audience is outside the United States, is what’s the best time for games to be played so that those fans can enjoy them live as opposed to having to get up in China and watch an NBA game at 7:00 in the morning. And I think that’s a fun problem that we’re going to be addressing because so much viewing is happening outside the United States now.”

“Fun problem?”

The problem is the domestic audience inside the United States is still the core audience. The NBA can’t start to alienate its core audience. For Europe, some of the weekend afternoon starts can work — a 1 p.m. Eastern start on Sunday is 6 p.m. in London, and you can promote that.

Asia is another matter. With basically a 12-hour time difference, there is no good answer. The Lakers and Warriors are playing at a good viewing time in China for their exhibition games, but back home America’s West Coast those games start at 4:30 a.m.

I do think you will see the NBA take a regular season game or games to China in the coming few years. It is the next step in that market.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Celtics may keep Tayshaun Prince if he’s not traded by the deadline

    Jan 24, 2015, 11:00 PM EST

    Boston Celtics v Portland Trail Blazers Getty Images

    Brad Stevens reportedly likes Prince, so a buyout may not be in the cards.

  2. Derek Fisher didn’t realize motivating his players would be such a big part of being an NBA head coach

    Jan 24, 2015, 9:30 PM EST

    Derek Fisher AP

    Fisher played 18 years, and claims that his motivation always came from within.

  3. After being fined for obscene gesture, Dwyane Wade asks NBA to improve on ways it protects players from fans

    Jan 24, 2015, 8:00 PM EST

    Dwyane Wade AP

    Wade was fined for flipping off some fans who he believed crossed the line.

  4. Dwight Howard leaves arena in walking boot after suffering ankle injury against Suns

    Jan 24, 2015, 5:00 PM EST

    Dwight Howard AP

    Howard left the game after just eight minutes and did not return.

  5. LaMarcus Aldridge decides to delay surgery, will return for Blazers Saturday vs. Wizards

    Jan 24, 2015, 3:17 PM EST

    Sacramento Kings v Portland Trail Blazers Getty Images

    Aldridge has a tear in his left thumb, and was originally set to be sidelined 6-8 weeks.

  6. Report: Cavaliers players say they ‘had lost faith’ due to lack of depth and roster construction

    Jan 24, 2015, 11:00 AM EST

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    Before recent trades, players believed the team would go no further than the second round of the playoffs.

  7. James Harden hits step-back game winner to beat Suns (VIDEO)

    Jan 24, 2015, 8:00 AM EST

    James Harden, Isaiah Thomas AP

    That is as good a step-back jumper as you will see.

  8. Kobe Bryant will be back next season, he can’t resist the challenge

    Jan 24, 2015, 2:00 AM EST

    Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets Getty Images

    There are $25 million Kobe will be back next season.

  9. If injury is serious, it would go against history for Kobe to be productive again

    Jan 24, 2015, 12:16 AM EST

    Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans Getty Images

    Lakers star could also above and beyond and chase Michael Jordan’s comeback

  10. Kevin Durant: ‘I don’t need the All-Star vote to validate me as a player’

    Jan 23, 2015, 10:15 PM EST

    Kevin Durant AP

    It’s a good thing, because he received fewer votes than Marcin Gortat.

  11. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle: ‘Monta Ellis deserves to be an All-Star’

    Jan 23, 2015, 9:15 PM EST

    Brooklyn Nets v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

    Maybe, but the field is simply too crowded in the West for Ellis to have a reasonable shot.

  12. Photographer sues Nike over use of iconic Michael Jordan dunk image

    Jan 23, 2015, 8:15 PM EST

    Michael Jordan dunk Getty Images

    I’m no expert in copyright law, but this strikes me as the kind of lawsuit that gets settled out of court.

  13. Rumor: Tobias Harris “wants to win a championship with the Knicks’’

    Jan 23, 2015, 7:15 PM EST

    Tobias Harris AP

    So he plans to play for the Knicks until 2050?

  14. Iman Shumpert active for Cavaliers, expected to make Cleveland debut Friday vs. Hornets

    Jan 23, 2015, 6:15 PM EST

    Miami Heat v New York Knicks Getty Images

    Shumpert was acquired as part of the deal that sent Dion Waiters to OKC.

Featured video

Stephen Curry leads NBA MVP race mid-season
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (8606)
  2. D. Wade (8073)
  3. A. Davis (7941)
  4. L. Aldridge (7410)
  5. J. Noah (6956)
  1. J. Holiday (6917)
  2. R. Rubio (6764)
  3. K. Martin (6634)
  4. T. Harris (6454)
  5. D. Cousins (6445)