NBA.com to Include TNT Fare

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Can’t get enough of Charles Barkley on Turner Network Television’s Thursday-night National Basketball Association doubleheaders? Look no further than NBA.com (www.nba.com).

The former “Round Mound of Rebound” and other members of TNT’s on-air NBA team will appear on the network’s new broadband-video service, tipping off Nov. 17 on the league’s dedicated site, according to Turner Sports president David Levy.

In an effort to extend its NBA presence brand beyond its Thursday-night telecasts, TNT talent will develop original feature programming, cover breaking league news and provide perspective on league issues and stories via TNT Broadband on NBA.com.

All of the network’s talent -- including former NBA players Magic Johnson, Reggie Miller and Steve Kerr; play-by-play man Marv Albert; and Inside the NBA studio hosts Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson -- will develop segments for the channel.

Some of the segments planned include “NBA Planet,” which will profile the lives and appeal of foreign-born players like Yao Ming within their native lands. Other segments featured on the Thursday telecasts, including network-exclusive player interviews, will also migrate to the streaming-video service.

Levy also noted that the service will help the network to promote its 52 live NBA regular-season telecasts during the 2005-06 campaign, beginning Nov. 1 with a Denver Nuggets-San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns-Dallas Mavericks doubleheader.

The network hopes to reverse a slight decline: After posting increases during the first two years of its six-year, $2.2 billion NBA deal, TNT saw its average fall off to a 1.3 household mark last season from a 1.4 in 2003-04.

Levy added that the network’s streaming-video approach could also extend to its other sporting events, including its pro-golf coverage and National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing events.

For more on TNT Broadband on NBA.com, please see R. Thomas Umstead’s story on page 20 of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.

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