pic from (@swjones87)
Credit where it’s due. There was a collective eye roll (at best) or freakout (at worst) on Twitter yesterday when people began to realize that the Sixers’ preseason game against the Nets would not be shown locally on the NBC Sports Family of Local Philly Networks. Though understandable that a preseason game on Long Island would not be televised, it felt a little off seeing as though, thus far, every Sixers Summer League and preseason game had been aired locally. And there’s really no reason why NBC shouldn’t air every single game, regardless of whether it counts, because nowadays those live events are what keep all sports networks relevant.
Whatever the reason that the game wasn’t originally on the schedule, I imagine the Sixers weren’t thrilled yesterday that fans wouldn’t be able to get their first taste of Joel Embiid in the length of a full-term human gestation. Obviously some phone calls were made, and late in the day NBC Sports announced that they would be airing the game.
Rather than just negotiating the use of the YES broadcast from New York (YES is a rival regional network to NBC-owned networks, including SNY in New York, which NBC has an 8% stake in), NBC Philly used the available video feed (unclear which one) and dubbed in Marc Zumoff, Marc Jackson and Amy Fadool, who called the game from the studio.
Watching it, you wouldn’t have known that they weren’t there, save for the occasional shot change that the broadcast crew clearly wasn’t anticipating or trips back to the studio during timeouts. Overall, it was a much better effort than when CSN had picture-in-picture in-game commentary during a Summer League game.
Multiple times during the broadcast, the crew remarked that they were sitting there solely because of fan outcry. I can’t imagine another city where public demand would compel a network to scramble to pick up a preseason NBA game. We are the best sports fans in the world.
And it’s a good thing NBC Sports If I Were Ever Going To Use The Full Name It Would Be Today But I’ll Just Call Them Philly did, because Joel Embiid is goddamn beast.