ESPNEWS to televise its first live NBA Playoff game Friday: Pacers-Raptors Game 6

ESPNEWS logoAbout 30 hours before the Pacers hosted the Toronto Raptors for Game 6 of their first-round series, we finally learned the tip time and what television network would have the broadcast.

The league took longer than usual to announce the start times for a trio playoff games. On Twitter, fans with tickets reached out and needed to know in order to plan their day accordingly, and those without tickets were anxious to know before potentially making a purchase.

With the NFL Draft continuing on Friday evening, over on ESPN2, it left ESPN with slots to broadcast two games in primetime on its marquee channel. But there are three NBA Game 6s scheduled for Friday evening.

Miami Heat at Charlotte Hornets (8:00 pm) and Los Angeles Clippers at Portland Trail Blazers (10:30 pm) were clearly the priority, which then left Raptors at Pacers.

The Raptors have a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

So that it wouldn’t be another early evening game, a 7:30 pm ET start time was agreed upon. However, with ESPN having the rights and wanting to push the game out to the largest possible audience, they elected to air the game on another channel within the ESPN family — ESPNEWS.

And that’s a first.

Never before has an NBA playoff game aired live on ESPNEWS, a network spokesman confirmed to

Another first: the Worldwide Leader’s telecast will be simulcasted on NBA TV. Dave Pasch, Jon Barry, and Heather Cox will be on the call.

[2016 NBA Playoffs: Pacers-Raptors Round 1 dates set]

So, for Pacers and Raptors fans in the U.S. trying to watch the game, here are your options:

  • FOX Sports Indiana, which televised all 82 games during the regular season and also Games 2 and 3 of this series, will air the game locally with the usual crew of Chris Denari, Quinn Buckner, and Jeremiah Johnson. That will be a good option for those in Central Indiana.
  • ESPNEWS, a premium channel with most cable and satellite providers.
  • WatchESPN app, if ESPNEWS is included in your package a you prefer to watch online.
  • NBA TV, another premium channel with most cable and satellite providers.

As always, Pacers games can be heard on the statewide Pacers Radio Network (FM 93.5 in Indianapolis).

For those watching the NBA TV feed, Jarrett Jack, who previously played for both the Pacers (2008-09) and Raptors (2009-11), will be a guest analyst in studio for pre- and post-game coverage, along with Grant Hill and host Rick Kamla.

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