How the NBA is Confronting Late Start Times


The NBA is experimenting with starting NBA Finals games earlier in the evening to ease the late night burden on east coast viewers.

Richie Paolino, Sports Reporter

WOODBURY — NBA fans on the East Coast have put up long nights of watching the playoffs because of how late they start in consideration for the West Coast. This season the NBA has made an effort to start games earlier in the evening which would benefit all fans on the East Coast.

Fans have seen games start at 10 p.m. and even as late as 10:30. While students are used to staying up late, it’s hard for teachers who have to clock in early the next morning.

“Most of the time I can’t watch past halftime,” said culinary instructor John Dominello, an avid NBA fan. “They should still keep in mind the West Coast, but it’s almost impossible to watch the full games when they start this late.”

Despite students being accustomed to late nights before school, it’s still helpful for the games to finish earlier.

“I think it’s good that they are starting earlier,” said senior Eli Brochu. “If I’m ever interested in a game and watch until the end, I’m exhausted the next day, especially if I have school. Starting earlier would help that.”

Not only does this benefit fans who’d like to watch these games, it’s still a reasonable time for fans in other time zones and it’ll also help the NBA bring in more viewers.

“Our fans told us that earlier starts for Finals games are simply better for them,” said Gregg Winik, NBA president, via “We’re excited to work with ABC to present the 2023 NBA Finals at a more optimal viewing time.”

The days of fans staying up until midnight and even later might be a thing of the past, as other sports are trying to join in on starting playoff games earlier.

NBA Finals games starting earlier wasn’t the first maneuver among sports broadcasting to cater to East Coast viewers, as this year’s college football championship game started even earlier at 7:30 p.m. Beginning in 2010, the MLB experimented by starting Game 3 of the World Series at 7 p.m.

While these leagues starting earlier could be a trend for other sports trying it out as well, these events didn’t post a good quantity of viewers for leagues to be satisfied with its results.

Based on this, it’s uncertain on whether or not we can expect this to carry on into the future. The NBA had tried in 2003 to start NBA Finals games earlier and saw a 40% decrease in ratings.

“I prefer them starting earlier, but I don’t know if it’ll continue,” said senior Mahro Mandible. “I think the NBA will get more viewers from the East Coast but could lose viewers from the West Coast. I don’t think anyone really wants to watch a game at 5 p.m.”

Games starting too early is a problem for the West Coast, and games starting too late is a problem for the East Coast, so what is the solution?

“I don’t mind them starting late at night,” said junior Carson Buck. “I understand going to bed at midnight is really late, but if you’re interested in the game, then you’ll stay up and watch.”