Thursday, April 15

Bobcats Ready For Their Close-Up

When Orlando begins its playoff push against Charlotte, many people will be getting their first look at the Bobcats. There is the chance that they encountered the Bobs while watching their favorite team on their local network, but for the most part the team is unknown. Even many so-called experts and analysts cannot truly break down this team, because they don't watch them that often or at all. The biggest mention Charlotte got this year is when MJ bought the team, the on the court business remains a mystery. Could the average NBA fan tell you anything about all-star Gerald Wallace? Doubtful. The one nugget they might recall is his disapointing performance in the slam dunk competition.

I have no illusions, the Bobcats are a small market team with a short and not so illustrious history, but that does not excuse the league's failure to get the populous more familiar with them. Television is not the only medium in which the Bobcats were put in the corner, but it is a compelling example.

First, let's take a look at the NBA on TNT. Home to arguably the best studio show in sports, TNT knows how to bring the NBA to the masses. According to their list of games this season, here are how the numbers break down.

53 total games

Cavs - 9 games
Lakers - 9 games
Celtics - 9 games
Nuggets - 9 games
Bulls - 9 games
Magic - 9 games
Heat - 8 games
Suns - 7 games
Spurs - 6 games
Blazers - 5 games
Mavs - 4 games
Jazz - 4 games
Hornets - 3 games
Clippers - 2 games
Warriors - 2 games
76ers - 1 game
Hawks - 1 game
Wizards - 1 game
Grizzlies - 1 game

Next, we have the ABC/ESPN schedule.

90 total games

Lakers - 16
Celtics - 16
Cavs - 15
Magic - 14
Nuggets - 13
Spurs - 13
Suns - 11
Blazers - 10
Mavs - 9
Hawks - 9
Jazz - 8
Heat - 7
Hornets - 6
Bulls - 5
Thunder- 4
Warriors - 4
Clippers - 4
Bucks - 3
Knicks - 3
Pistons - 2
Rockets - 1
Grizzlies - 1
Kings - 1

The big market, high profile teams get about 17% of the airtime. No argument there, they are the moneymakers. With LBJ, Kobe, Melo, Dwight, and the big 3 you have a chance to bring in the viewers. After that the wealth is spread pretty evenly amongst the mid-market, playoff contending teams and the teams that don't win but are exciting to watch (looking at you Golden State). The Bobcats were projected by some to make the playoffs, but yet they were not even put on the big show when they played one of the big market teams. This is odd considering that playing one of the big teams is usually the only chance for the little guys to get on the national scene. Furthermore, the Bobs always play the Lakers and Celtics tough. In fact, they play a lot of the big boys tough. This year against the Celtics, Lakers, Cavs, Magic, and Nuggets they are 6-9. It is why many are suggesting that while the Magic should win the series against Charlotte, it will not be a cakewalk. They also have a semi-rivalry with Atlanta, which while more prevalant in football, has the same I-85 implications in the NBA.

If the Kings, Pistons, Rockets, and Wizards got at least one bone thrown to them this year, why were the Bobcats denied? The only other teams that did not get a national broadcast game were the Raptors, Pacers, Nets, and T-Wolves. None of those teams are playoff bound.

It seems like a bit of sour grapes for a team that came into this year with the goal of ridding itself of its bad reputation, but if the NBA wants to expand its product around the world, why not make sure all its teams are visible to its national audience?

The Bobcats will play in Orlando 5:30 this Sunday on TNT. It will be the first time in over a year they will have a national broadcast. They earned this and the best way for them to get onto the TV in the future will be to make a great showing in this series. If they do, I don't think basketball fans will complain about seeing Larry Brown's boys once or twice a year and at the expense of the Clippers or Pistons.

1 comment:

Cleet said...

MJ's head is shiny.