So another year has come and there has been another schedule release for the team. There were some great tidbits and interesting pieces to the Pacers schedule, but there was one thing that stood out to the fans of the Pacers and many other small-market teams around the league.
Many of the big young stars in the game such as Cade Cunningham, Paolo Banchero, and Tyrese Haliburton are going to be a rare sight on national television. For example, the Pacers got one national game this season. So did the Orlando Magic where Paolo Banchero has been lighting it up.
And while we always expect big markets to take the majority of the games, that’s clearly how money and viewership works, the NBA is full-on neglecting their small-market franchises, of which many of their franchises would fit into the category of.
If we look at all of the national games and how they break down, we would quickly see that the national spotlight is only given to a couple of teams.
If you were hoping to see how rising stars such as Haliburton, Cunningham, Banchero, or new draft picks such as Brandon Miller or Scoot Henderson do this year, you may have to head to the internet to watch highlights after the game.
While this may pay off for the NBA in the short term, the increasing big market bias will work against the league long term.
The NBA should have a vested interest in all fanbases in the league growing, rather than only a select few at the very top. The league relies on its size for much of its revenue.
And which teams do you think stars will want to go play for? A team that has 28 nationally televised games will attract many more stars than one that only has a few. It came potentially become a matter of parity of the league if they aren’t careful.
I’m not saying the Pacers should have 28 national games, but perhaps taking one or two away from the top and giving them to the teams near the bottom for young stars to have exposure wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
It might actually be good for business.