TNT has announced it will broadcast the untimed fourth quarter of this weekend’s National Basketball Association All-Star Game, which will honor the late Kobe Bryant, commercial-free for the first time.
Last month, the NBA announced sweeping changes to the format of the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, which is taking place on February 16 at the United Center in Chicago.
According to the league, the tweaks are designed “to increase the level of competition throughout the game, provide additional excitement at the finish and make the outcome of every quarter count for charity.” The changes will also honor Los Angeles Lakers legend Bryant, who died last month along with eight others in a helicopter crash in California.
In this year’s NBA All-Star Game between Team Giannis and Team LeBron – Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers are the team captains – the first three quarters will each become mini-games for charity, all of which will start scoreless and last 12 minutes.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the game clock will be turned off and a Final Target Score will be set. The Final Target Score will be determined by taking the leading team’s total cumulative score through three quarters and adding 24 points – the 24 representing Bryant’s jersey number for the final 10 seasons of his NBA career.
“Presenting the fourth quarter completely free of any commercial breaks creates a unique opportunity to showcase the new All-Star Game format, provide the best fan experience, and align with the league’s overarching plans to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant this weekend,” said Craig Barry, Turner Sports executive vice president and chief content officer.
According to AdWeek, TNT parent company WarnerMedia said the ad-free fourth quarter is not expected to dent its All-Star Game advertising revenue.
The NBA is further shaking up this month’s All-Star Weekend in Chicago by changing the format of the 3-point competition.