The Phoenix Suns have not been a hot television commodity for sometime, and unfortunately the league and it’s television partners do not seem to believe that the rise of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton are enough to showcase them much this year either.
The NBA released its full broadcast schedule for the Phoenix Suns recently and it features one – and only one – nationally televised game.
TNT will showcase the Suns versus the New Orleans Pelicans on November 21, exactly one week before Thanksgiving.
And that’s it.
That’s all the national exposure currently on the docket for the 2019-20 season.
The worldwide leader in sports entertainment, ESPN, completely snubbed the Suns altogether.
The other 81 games will be broadcast locally by Fox Sports Arizona as well as the Fox Sports Go app.
This shouldn’t come as a major surprise, considering the Suns were passed on for a Christmas game for the 10th straight year, but only one game? You would think there might be some kind of equity statute out there.
To be fair, it is not too hard to see it from a ratings-minded TV producer standpoint.
Without a superstar headlining the roster, you could see why a team with a dismal record in recent years wouldn’t draw many eyeballs to the screen.
It is yet another reason why the Phoenix Suns’ crappy lottery luck has hurt them in recent years, not only on the court, but in circumstances like this. If the Suns landed the top pick again this year and the right to draft Zion Williamson to play alongside Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, you better believe TV executives would have been much more likely to feature them.
We actually don’t have to speculate on this. The jury is still out on whether one rookie phenom and a host of former Lakers will translate to wins, but the the New Orleans Pelicans are slated to play in 17 (that’s right, 17) nationally televised games this year after a decent at best 33-49 record last year.
That’s over 20% of their season!
That kind of exposure can only help attract bigger stars in the future, and the kind of exposure Phoenix Suns could certainly use to help dig themselves out of the league’s doldrums.
Let’s face it: Zion Williamson is probably the only reason the Suns got their lone national TV game, a scheduling happenstance aligning with the real reason national viewers will tune in.
However, there is one way Phoenix can increase their nationally televised games: win.
Winning cures everything and then puts that cure on national television.
In fact, all the NBA playoff games are nationally televised, so making the playoffs would definitely help remedy this issue.
ESPN also is known to insert hot teams into its broadcast schedule throughout the year, whether they end up making the playoffs or not.
In the immortal words of Lloyd Christmas, “So you’re saying there’s a chance.”