If the National Basketball Association’s All-Star Weekend has been fantastic over the years, it’s now immersive and expanded.
TNT, which is televising the festivities for an 11th straight season, and NBA Digital, co-managed by Turner Sports and the league, will offer extensive coverage of 2013 NBA All-Star events in Houston via multimedia vehicles.
The showcase of what Christina Miller, senior vice president and general manager of NBA Digital, calls the “league’s best and brightest” is being paralleled by NBA Digital and TNT’s attempts to be as “innovative and creative as possible across various platforms.”
With a social-media assist, TNT, NBA TV, NBA.com and NBA Mobile’s comprehensive presentation will combine to deliver some 160 hours of programming.
Starting with a 15-hour marathon of dunk contests past on Valentine’s Day, NBA TV will televise more than 120 hours of All-Star programming. NBA.com is adding more than 20 hours of live streaming content from around the weekend’s signature events.
TNT will televise the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge of young league talent at 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15. The All- Star Game itself airs on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m..
There is a new format for State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, featuring the shooting stars, skills, three-point shooting and dunk competitions. It will now sport a new East vs. West format with points tallied for the squads, captained by Dwayne Wade and Chris Paul, respectively; monies will be donated to charity.
Miller said the game plan calls for “seamless consumption. It’s not a case of either/or and toggling back and forth to different platforms. There is content for fans to snack or commit to whether on the TV, computers, tablet or smartphone.”
NBA Digital is also keeping a keen eye on the social side. “We want fans to consume, tweet, share, like, follow,” Miller said. “We want fans to look at the photos and videos and [be] posting them to Instagram and Vine.”
NBA TV will conclude matters Feb. 18 with interviews with two of the league’s all-time players and a high-profile Turner employee who also had a Hall of Fame game. Preceded by 5.5 hours of vintage video, the network will air One-on-One With Ahmad Rashad: Michael Jordan at 8 p.m. His Airness, the Charlotte Bobcats owner, recently turned 50.
Mr. Russell’s House follows at 9 p.m., with Grantland editor in chief Bill Simmons interviewing Bill Russell, the sport’s all-time winner, before TNT analyst Charles Barkley engages with Inside the NBA teammate Ernie Johnson in Sir Charles at 50 at 10 p.m.
“Getting Jordan, Russell and Charles to sit down is a special way for us to end,” said Miller.
Presumably, all of this action will boost ratings.
The 2012 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, featuring then- New York Knicks’ point guard sensation Jeremy Lin, was the most-watched telecast in the event’s history, with more than 2.7 million viewers. However, the Saturday night fare dropped 23% to 6.2 million viewers from a record 8.1 million in 2011, while the All-Star Game saw a 22% decline to 7.1 million watchers from 9.1 million the year before in what was TNT’s second-best performance since it began televising the event in 2003.