Pelicans schedule reveals increased national exposure in 2019-20

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The NBA released the schedule for the 2019-20 regular season today, and the New Orleans Pelicans are featured prominently on the league’s biggest stages.

In addition to playing on Christmas Day for just the third time in franchise history (versus the Denver Nuggets at 9:30 pm), the Pelicans will play on national television 30 times this season.

Twice the Pelicans will be featured on ABC’s Saturday and Sunday matinee contests. The Pels make their first appearance on Jan. 18 when they host the Los Angeles Clippers, and again when they visit the Houston Rockets on Feb. 2.

It’s been more than a decade since the Pelicans last appeared on ABC (April 12, 2009).

New Orleans opens the season Oct. 22 against the defending-champion Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena. The home opener is three nights later when the Dallas Mavericks visit the Smoothie King Center on Oct. 25.

The Pelicans will play three of their first five games at home, with Golden State (Oct. 28) and Denver (Oct. 31) closing out the season’s first month.

Of the Pels’ first 20 games, 15 are against teams that qualified for the playoffs last season.

Should the Pelicans be in a position to make the postseason in April, the schedule is in their favor, with four of the final seven games at home, during a four-game home stand against rebuilding Charlotte and Phoenix teams, along with the Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards, before finishing the season at San Antonio on April 15.

Certainly, the drafting of Zion Williamson had a big impact on the Pelicans’ prominent placement by the league. Zion’s Summer League debut generated the highest single-game rating in ESPN history; beating the previous mark by a ridiculous 33 percent.

CBS had its highest ratings for the NCAA Tournament’s first weekend since 2001, largely in part to the presence of Williamson.

Days before that, Duke and Williamson set an ACC Tournament record by drawing 2.44 million viewers to their quarterfinal game versus Syracuse, a 42 percent increase from the time slot from the year before.

The NBA is counting on Zion Williamson to have a similar impact on its ratings, which saw a four percent dip in local markets and a five percent decline nationally.

Win or lose, one thing is certain; the entire basketball world will be watching.

2019-20 PELICANS SCHEDULE (home games in BOLD):

Oct. 22: at Toronto, 7 p.m., TNT

Oct. 25: Dallas, 7 p.m., ESPN

Oct. 26: at Houston, 7 p.m.

Oct. 28: Golden State, 7 p.m.

Oct. 31: Denver, 8:30 p.m., TNT

Nov. 2: at Oklahoma City, 4, p.m.

Nov. 4: at Brooklyn, 6:30 p.m.

Nov. 8: Toronto, 7 p.m.

Nov. 9: at Charlotte, 6 p.m.

Nov. 11: Houston, 7 p.m.

Nov. 14: L.A. Clippers, 7 p.m.

Nov. 16: at Miami, 7 p.m.

Nov. 17: Golden State, 6 p.m.

Nov. 19: Portland, 7 p.m.

Nov. 21: at Phoenix, 9:30 p.m., TNT

Nov. 23: at Utah, 8 p.m.

Nov. 24: at L.A. Clippers, 8 p.m.

Nov. 27: L.A. Lakers, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Nov. 29: at Oklahoma City, 7 p.m.

Dec. 1: Oklahoma City, 4 p.m.

Dec. 3: Dallas, 6:30 p.m., TNT

Dec. 5: Phoenix, 7:00 p.m.

Dec. 7: at Dallas, 1 p.m.

Dec. 9: Detroit, 7 p.m.

Dec. 11: at Milwaukee, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Dec. 13: at Philadelphia, 6 p.m.

Dec. 15: Orlando, 2:30 p.m.

Dec. 17: Brooklyn, 7 p.m.

Dec. 18: at Minnesota, 7 p.m.

Dec. 20: at Golden State, 9:30 p.m., ESPN

Dec. 23: at Portland, 9 p.m.

Dec. 25: at Denver, 9:30 p.m., ESPN

Dec. 28: Indiana, 6 p.m.

Dec. 29: Houston, 7 p.m.

Jan. 3: at L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m., ESPN

Jan. 4: at Sacramento, 9 p.m.

Jan. 6: Utah, 7 p.m.

Jan. 8: Chicago, 7 p.m.

Jan. 10: at New York Knicks, 7 p.m.

Jan. 11: at Boston, 6 p.m.

Jan. 13: at Detroit, 6 p.m.

Jan. 16: Utah, 7 p.m.

Jan. 18: L.A. Clippers, 2:30 p.m., ABC

Jan. 20: at Memphis, 4 p.m., TNT

Jan. 22: San Antonio, 7 p.m.

Jan. 24: Denver, 7 p.m.

Jan. 26: Boston, 5 p.m., ESPN

Jan. 28: at Cleveland, 6 p.m.

Jan. 31: Memphis, 7 p.m.

Feb. 2: at Houston, 1 p.m., ABC

Feb. 4: Milwaukee, 6:30 p.m., TNT

Feb. 6: at Chicago, 7 p.m.

Feb. 8: at Indiana, 8:30 p.m.

Feb. 11: Portland, 7 p.m.

Feb. 13: Oklahoma City, 7 p.m.

Feb. 21: at Portland, 9:30 p.m., ESPN

Feb. 23: at Golden State, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 25: at L.A. Lakers, 7 p.m., TNT

Feb. 28: Cleveland, 7 p.m.

March 1: L.A. Lakers, 7 p.m., ESPN

March 3: Minnesota, 7 p.m.

March 4: at Dallas, 7:30 p.m.

March 6: Miami, 7 p.m

March 8: at Minnesota, 2:30 p.m.

March 11: at Sacramento, 9 p.m., ESPN

March 13: at Utah, 8 p.m.

March 14: at L.A. Clippers, 9:30 p.m.

March 16: Atlanta, 7 p.m.

March 18: San Antonio, 7 p.m.

March 21: at Memphis, 7 p.m.

March 22: Sacramento, 6 p.m.

March 24: Memphis, 7 p.m.

March 27: New York, 7 p.m.

March 29: at Orlando, 5 p.m.

March 31: at Atlanta, 6:30 p.m.

April 1: at Washington, 6 p.m.

April 5: at San Antonio, 6 p.m.

April 7: Charlotte, 7 p.m.

April 9: Phoenix, 7 p.m.

April 11: Philadelphia, 6 p.m.

April 13: Washington, 7 p.m.

April 15: at San Antonio, 6:30 p.m.

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David Grubb

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David Grubb has more than a decade of experience in the sports industry. He began his career with KLAX-TV in Alexandria, La. and followed that up with a stint as an reporter and anchor with WGGB-TV in Springfield, Mass. After spending a few years away from the industry, David worked as sports information director for Southern University at New Orleans…

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