Portland Trail Blazers Raise National TV Profile With 20 Games On 2019-20 NBA Schedule

Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Four
Getty Images

As a measure of a team’s status in the NBA, national TV appearances are not an exact science, usually a reflection of not just on-court success, but roster potential and market size.

But the Portland Trail Blazers’ 2019-20 schedule, which was released Monday, does show that the Blazers are making inroads into the national consciousness after reaching the Western Conference Finals last season.

The Blazers are scheduled to make 20 appearances on a national network this coming season, with 10 on TNT and 10 on ESPN/ABC. In Portland's current iteration led by star point guard Damian Lillard and coached by Terry Stotts, spanning the last seven seasons, no Portland team has made more national TV appearances during the regular season.

Coming from a smaller media market, the Blazers’ national TV appearances during the Lillard/Stotts era have been sparse at times, but have seen some surges. After they beat Houston in the first round of the playoffs in 2014 – their first postseason series win in 14 years – Portland’s TV appearances jumped from six to 16.

Then the next season, after All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge left for San Antonio in free agency, the Blazers’ national TV appearances dropped to five.

Portland’s regular season national TV slate during the Lillard/Stotts era:

  • 2012-13 — 8 (5 TNT, 3 ESPN/ABC)
  • 2013-14 — 6 (4 TNT, 2 ESPN/ABC)
  • 2014-15 — 16 (6 TNT, 10 ESPN/ABC)
  • 2015-16 — 5 (1 TNT, 4 ESPN/ABC)
  • 2016-17 — 7 (6 TNT, 1 ESPN/ABC)
  • 2017-18 — 11 (5 TNT, 6 ESPN/ABC)
  • 2018-19 — 13 (5 TNT, 8 ESPN/ABC)
  • 2019-20 — 20 (10 TNT, 10 ESPN/ABC)

Predictably, the 2019-20 national TV slots are filled with appearances by the two Los Angeles teams, the Lakers (29 national TV games) and Clippers (25), both of which have received massive infusions of interest through players acquisitions (Anthony Davis joining LeBron James on the Lakers, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George joining the Clippers). Another team that added a big star, Houston (which got Russell Westbrook to go with James Harden), has 26 national TV slots.

In the Western Conference, however, the five-time defending conference champion, Golden State, is still the national TV darling, with 30 of its games slated for national TV (we’re not counting NBA-TV broadcasts in which the network picks up a local broadcast).

The Blazers remain ahead of two of their other strongest rivals in the West, Utah and Denver, and are just ahead of New Orleans, which seems to be drawing great buzz because of No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson. Here’s the how the national TV slate breaks down for the top West teams:

  • Golden State – 30 (12 TNT, 18 ESPN/ABC)
  • LA Lakers – 29 (10 TNT, 19 ESPN/ABC)
  • Houston – 26 (10 TNT, 16 ESPN/ABC)
  • LA Clippers – 25 (10 TNT, 15 ESPN/ABC)
  • Portland – 20 (10 TNT, 10 ESPN/ABC)
  • New Orleans –  19 (6 TNT, 13 ESPN/ABC)
  • Denver – 17 (8 TNT, 9 ESPN/ABC)
  • Utah – 16 (6 TNT, 10 ESPN/ABC)

">

As a measure of a team’s status in the NBA, national TV appearances are not an exact science, usually a reflection of not just on-court success, but roster potential and market size.

But the Portland Trail Blazers’ 2019-20 schedule, which was released Monday, does show that the Blazers are making inroads into the national consciousness after reaching the Western Conference Finals last season.

The Blazers are scheduled to make 20 appearances on a national network this coming season, with 10 on TNT and 10 on ESPN/ABC. In Portland's current iteration led by star point guard Damian Lillard and coached by Terry Stotts, spanning the last seven seasons, no Portland team has made more national TV appearances during the regular season.

Coming from a smaller media market, the Blazers’ national TV appearances during the Lillard/Stotts era have been sparse at times, but have seen some surges. After they beat Houston in the first round of the playoffs in 2014 – their first postseason series win in 14 years – Portland’s TV appearances jumped from six to 16.

Then the next season, after All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge left for San Antonio in free agency, the Blazers’ national TV appearances dropped to five.

Portland’s regular season national TV slate during the Lillard/Stotts era:

  • 2012-13 — 8 (5 TNT, 3 ESPN/ABC)
  • 2013-14 — 6 (4 TNT, 2 ESPN/ABC)
  • 2014-15 — 16 (6 TNT, 10 ESPN/ABC)
  • 2015-16 — 5 (1 TNT, 4 ESPN/ABC)
  • 2016-17 — 7 (6 TNT, 1 ESPN/ABC)
  • 2017-18 — 11 (5 TNT, 6 ESPN/ABC)
  • 2018-19 — 13 (5 TNT, 8 ESPN/ABC)
  • 2019-20 — 20 (10 TNT, 10 ESPN/ABC)

Predictably, the 2019-20 national TV slots are filled with appearances by the two Los Angeles teams, the Lakers (29 national TV games) and Clippers (25), both of which have received massive infusions of interest through players acquisitions (Anthony Davis joining LeBron James on the Lakers, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George joining the Clippers). Another team that added a big star, Houston (which got Russell Westbrook to go with James Harden), has 26 national TV slots.

In the Western Conference, however, the five-time defending conference champion, Golden State, is still the national TV darling, with 30 of its games slated for national TV (we’re not counting NBA-TV broadcasts in which the network picks up a local broadcast).

The Blazers remain ahead of two of their other strongest rivals in the West, Utah and Denver, and are just ahead of New Orleans, which seems to be drawing great buzz because of No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson. Here’s the how the national TV slate breaks down for the top West teams:

  • Golden State – 30 (12 TNT, 18 ESPN/ABC)
  • LA Lakers – 29 (10 TNT, 19 ESPN/ABC)
  • Houston – 26 (10 TNT, 16 ESPN/ABC)
  • LA Clippers – 25 (10 TNT, 15 ESPN/ABC)
  • Portland – 20 (10 TNT, 10 ESPN/ABC)
  • New Orleans –  19 (6 TNT, 13 ESPN/ABC)
  • Denver – 17 (8 TNT, 9 ESPN/ABC)
  • Utah – 16 (6 TNT, 10 ESPN/ABC)

Follow me on Twitter.

I’ve covered sports in Portland for decades, with multiple stints on the Trail Blazers beat. They won 21 games my first season. Things have gotten better since.