Game 4 of Heat-Celtics moved to avoid Monday Night Football
Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics on ESPN has been moved from Monday to Tuesday, offering the teams a rare three-day break on the Disney campus, as reported by Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch.
The purpose of the move is to avoid a conflict with ESPN's telecast of Monday Night Football. ESPN would either have to air the Heat-Celtics at 5 p.m. EST or possibly air it on another channel (ESPN2 or ESPNews) and go head-to-head with the NFL.
Early start times and head-to-head matchups with football have proven to be a major issue for the NBA in terms of viewership, as the league has struggled in the ratings department for most of the season. Game 1 of the East finals drew just 4.0 million viewers, the lowest since 2007. That game tipped off at 7 p.m. EST.
The Heat currently hold a 2-0 series lead, with Game 3 scheduled for Saturday at 8:30 p.m. EST on ESPN.
Meanwhile, Game 2 of the West finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets is slated for a 7:30 p.m. EST tipoff Sunday (also on ESPN), which pits it against NBC's broadcast of the NFL game between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.