Why are the League Pass darlings being exiled from big market exposure?
Late last week, marquee matchups were dropped ahead of the NBA’s 2021-22 schedule and the Sacramento Kings notably missed out on a Christmas Day game for the 17th consecutive year. Their last appearance — one of only two in franchise history — came in 2003.
So, it was no surprise that when the broadcast schedule dropped last week, the Kings were short on national television appearances — in fact, they had zero. Sacramento is just one of four teams to not be featured on ESPN or TNT this regular season. The other teams include the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder.
To say we’ve been snubbed is an understatement, especially since the resounding murmurs amongst #NBATwitter last season were that the Kings were must-see television when it came to League Pass.
The dynamic duo of Mark Jones and Doug Christie on the call did make for an exciting in-market experience, however, the hype came off of the Kings having successful bouts of season in between the seven-game losing slides. Fox went supernova in February and Haliburton was having a stellar rookie run. Sacramento became “fun to watch” again.
Then, during Summer League, people began to talk about how fun Davion Mitchell could be on the defensive end behind an already explosive backcourt in De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton. So why is one of the most popular League Pass teams being forgotten by national television?
Sacramento has played one regular season game on TNT and zero on ESPN since 2019. They did get one slot vs. Golden State in 2018, when the NBA returned to Seattle in the preseason, but since then it’s been crickets. NBATV games are slated throughout the season, but I hesitate to call those national as they are a paid subscription-based outlet.
As a Kings fan, it’s confusing and disappointing. Small markets stay small markets because they lack exposure; national broadcasts give an opportunity for exposure. It doesn’t help the Kings if the only people who can watch them are … the Kings.
Sacramento is on the fringes of All-Stardom with De’Aaron Fox, and that in it of itself should rank them higher than teams like Minnesota or Indiana, who are in a similar place in terms of where the team is at currently and where they are looking to go.
Hopefully there can be some shuffling around in the calendar as the year goes on. There are last-minute switcharoos that could work into the Kings’ favor. But for now, zilch.