Monday, October 4th, 2010 at 10:37 am  |  14 responses

NBA TV Live From Miami

NBA TV becomes the network to broadcast Miami Heat’s first game.

by Kyle Stack / @KyleStack

Each of the major pro sports leagues is expected to operate its own TV channel these days, but the NBA rarely gets credit for becoming the first to do so. That was the case in 1999, when NBA TV launched as a 24-hour network.

It still operates with NBA ball featured around the clock, but the network has expanded its coverage like never before. And now NBA/it will take center stage as it hosts the first game of the Miami Heat’s refurbished championship-seeking team. Tomorrow in Miami, the Heat play host to the Detroit Pistons and NBA TV will be there to broadcast the game with an all-star crew.

TNT’s Marv Albert will handle the play-by-play while Kevin McHale and Chris Webber from NBA TV will sit beside Albert to break down the game. TNT’s Cheryl Miller will work the sidelines. The chance to broadcast the game with original coverage has an unusual amount of value for a preseason game – NBA TV typically shows live NBA preseason and regular season games with feeds and announcers from local networks.

“As a basketball fan, you want to see the initial time these guys hit the floor as a team,” said Scooter Vertino, VP of Digital Content for NBA TV. “I wouldn’t want to insult the intelligence of our viewers by overselling it but I’m excited. When this was presented to us, I thought it was a can’t-miss opportunity to get out there and show what we can do.”

While LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh might not play the number of minutes they’ll likely in regular season contests, the interest of how they’ll play together makes their first preseason game unlike a normal preseason debut.

“You only get to be first once and this is kind of cool to be that once,” Vertino said of NBA TV’s ability to broadcast the game.

The network’s increased exposure also helps them promote the game. NBA TV is in 53 million U.S. homes this season, compared to 45 million last season. It’ll feature up to 275 live games this year, which is more than any other professional sports league TV network. They’ll have 85 hours of original programming during the preseason, with 20 live games in 17 days.

Team previews start Oct. 7 beginning with the Los Angeles Lakers and NBA Real Training Camp returns with behind-the-scenes access to team practices of the Lakers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards. A new segment, On the Road with Reggie, will feature TNT’s Reggie Miller traveling to training camps for the Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets for interviews with players and coaches. All of it is done in an attempt to bring fans a little closer to everything that unfolds with teams before the season begins. Miller’s segment will likely run on the team preview shows and the the near-nightly NBA Gametime before being re-purposed to NBA.com.

“I worked with [Reggie] the last few years at TNT,” Vertino said. “He’s the type of guy who’s always early, always prepared, always has a Plan B.”

NBA TV and NBA.com’s move to Atlanta in 2007 permitted Turner Sports to take control of the platforms. It also allowed TNT and NBA TV talent to switch back and forth between networks, if necessary. The commonality among the two networks can be found in the free-wheeling, chemistry-rich nature of the on-air talent. Miller, like his sister Cheryl, is outspoken and at ease in front of the camera. The same rings true for the other analysts, from Charles Barkley on TNT to McHale on NBA TV. In fact, McHale and Webber hit it off the first time they met.

Vertino described a night when a team of NBA TV folks, including McHale and Webber, went to dinner in Atlanta. The purpose of it was to give the two former NBA All-Stars an opportunity to become acquainted with each other.

“I don’t know if it’s because they’re both Midwest guys or both from the Big Ten or because they’re both big men but after that dinner they clicked,” Vertino explained. (McHale grew up in Hibbing, Minn. and played at the University of Minnesota while Webber grew up in the Detroit area and played at the University of Michigan.)

NBA fans will get their first taste of that chemistry in a game situation tomorrow with the Heat contest. But Webber, McHale and the rest of the Turner Sports crew will be in the studio and at the games around the clock in what should be one memorable NBA campaign.

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  • JTaylor21

    NBA TV is the sh*t, F*CK The Worldwide Follower.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Uhm….not sure if anyone saw it, but NBATV carried the Heat’s first scrimmage on Friday night. Let’s be frank too….NBATV needs some real sponsors…they have the worst advertisers of any sports broadcast network anywhere. As for me, I’ll stick to the local broadcast down here, I don’t need to hear the broadcast team discuss each possession of the first preseason game as if they’re speaking about Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

  • http://www.boogiewilliams.com Boing Dynasty

    @Eboy, its called Real Training Camp, they go to every team in the leauge, every year its not somthing special for the Heat.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Yeah, it was (and I’m aware of Real Training Camp)…..they never show an entire scrimmage, including pregame announcements, national anthem, and have Mike Fratello sitting in to add color commentary as well as watching fans come in and out to fill the auditorium. Stop with your stupid hating. Just because no one outside of LA cares about a Lakers scrimmage, don’t get all pi*sy. TO quote The Philosopher……LONG…LIVE….THE KING!!!!

  • http://www.boogiewilliams.com Boing Dynasty

    Slamonline, were making valid points equals “stupid hating”(clever btw). Im not sure why your speaking about LA in reference to me, i live no were near there nor am i a fan of the Lakers or #24. None of that changes the fact that was a televised inter-squad scrimage taking place during training camp, on a television show called Real Traingin Camp. The National anthem was im sure for the benifit of all the Military personel in attendance. I dont even dislike the Heat, i was just pointing somthing out you whiney little ho.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Perhaps you should learn how to spell and correct your grammar as you sound like a mongoloid with a keyboard in your written word.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    You’re a liar….but I’m ok with that.

  • http://www.boogiewilliams.com Boing Dynasty

    When void of any actual argument resort to criticizing spelling, either that or cry “liar” with out actually pointing out something im lying about. Enjoy your L. You earned it.

  • dez

    stop the fighting. you’re upsetting the kids.

  • Byebye

    Heat tv starts tomorrow
    Dwade bron and bosh looks ready now
    Big z looks in great shape so does the entire team
    I can’t wait yeeeees!

  • jay13

    how can i watch the game? like is there a free website or something? doesn anyone know at what time it starts here at california.?

  • Byebye

    Espn has hired the former beat writer for the cavs to be the Miami heat team beat writer for Espn and Espn.com he will report on the heat and the heat only they will have special heat bottom line on sports center and a heat tracker on Espn.com
    This must be a big season for the NBA I have never heard of this before

  • hoodsnake

    Jeez guys why don’t you say how you really feel

  • arjae828

    @ eboy…you’re both right. While they’ve never showed intrasquad scrimmages before, they’ve tried it this year with the Wizards and the Heat. They didn’t televise the Phoenix scrimmage but they did post it on NBA.com. It is part of Real Training Camp but not exactly the same programming.