ESPN and NBA strike TV deal
The NBA and ESPN have reached an agreement for television coverage of the remainder of the 2012-13 season in the UK and Ireland.
ESPN will begin its coverage of the season on Thursday and will bring fans in the UK and Ireland three live games per week throughout the regular-season, plus the NBA All-Star Game, First and Second Round NBA Playoff coverage, the Western Conference Finals, and the NBA Finals.
"Through our continued partnership with ESPN, fans in the UK and Ireland can look forward to weekly games and an array of NBA programming for the remainder of the 2012-13 NBA Season," said Dan Markham, Vice President, Media Distribution & Emerging Markets.
Added Simon Potter, head of programming and production, ESPN EMEA: "We're very pleased to have the NBA returning to ESPN this season, and are looking forward to getting straight into the action and bringing UK and Ireland fans the world's top basketball league with some great early match-ups."
In the first week of coverage, ESPN will feature some of the top teams and stars from around the league, including multiple members of the USA Basketball Men's National Team that won gold at London 2012. Among the teams featured on ESPN in its first week of coverage: the NBA Champion Miami Heat (led by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and new teammate Ray Allen), take on the New York Knicks (Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler ); the Los Angeles Lakers (Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash) against defending Western Conference Champions the Oklahoma City Thunder (led by Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook); Texas and Western Conference rivals the San Antonio Spurs (Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan) face off against the Houston Rockets (James Harden, Jeremy Lin); the Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets (Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace, Joe Johnson) in one of the league's newest rivalries; and the 2011 NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks (Dirk Nowitzki, Elton Brand, OJ Mayo) as they take on perennial contenders the Boston Celtics (Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett).
This season, the UK is represented by nine-year veteran and NBA All-Star Luol Deng (Chicago Bulls) and rookie Joel Freeland (Portland Trailblazers) as part of the league's 84 international players from 37 countries.
Accompanying ESPN's live coverage this season will be ESPN produced studio shows NBA Tonight and NBA Countdown, providing round-ups of all the action from around the league.