Last week, when reacting to his first selection as an All-Star starter, Bradley Beal mentioned how the Wizards had zero games on major national TV networks up until that point as one of the reasons why he was surprised he had become so popular among fan votes. Well, they won’t have any in the second half of the season, either.
The second half schedule was released on Wednesday and it has zero schedule games for the Wizards on ESPN, ABC or TNT. They will, however, play five games on NBATV, which is not as widely accessible. TNT also has some TBD spots late in the season, so they could be flexed in.
But zero scheduled games on the major networks is surprising in part because of Beal’s emergence in All-Star voting. He got the seventh-most votes of any player, which is a strong indication he has become one of the league’s biggest attractions.
The Wizards also have Russell Westbrook, a nine-time All-Star, who has been playing much better lately. Clearly, it was not enough to entice network executives to put the Wizards in front of a wide national audience in the second half. Perhaps their 11-18 record is mostly to blame.
But even more interesting is that with Westbrook, they have taken a step back in this measure of national attention. Last season, when John Wall didn’t play a single game and it was fairly obvious they would have a losing record going into the year, they still got one game on ESPN. Oddly it was a game at the Cleveland Cavaliers in November.
Here’s how their national TV games have broken down the last five years:
2020-21 – 02019-20 – 1 (ESPN)2018-19 – 8 (5 on ESPN, 3 on TNT)2017-18 – 18 (11 on ESPN, 6 on TNT, 1 on ABC on Christmas)2016-17 – 5 (3 on ESPN, 2 on TNT)
The Wizards aren’t alone in having zero national TV games. There are six teams total including the Cavaliers, Kings, Magic, Pistons, Spurs and Thunder.
Now, the question is whether anyone cares. More games on NBC Sports Washington is always a good thing, of course.
But sometimes players do feel slighted by these types of things. Wall often had something to say about it when he played here and Beal did mention it just last week.
Maybe it will motivate Beal even more. If that’s the case, good luck to the rest of the league.
Tune in to NBC Sports Washington at 8 p.m. on Thursday for full coverage of the Wizards’ next game against the Denver Nuggets