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Clippers Take Calculated Aim at Growing TV-Viewing Fanbase - by Elijah Douresseau

I am a card-carrying member of #ClipperNation. We are an impassioned community of the saga that is the Los Angeles Clippers franchise. We’ve been through it all in our cozy Twitter neighborhood. And despite the noxious ire of the scores of Lakers readers peeping this story, Clipper Nation believes LA to be a Clipper town. So I just wanna say – and it should come as no surprise when I declare – CLIPPERS BASKETBALL IS BACK! Well…preseason basketball that is. But keep reading to find out why this is a big f-in’ deal.

The lot of the team, organization, and community know it is our time to get to the big show that is the NBA finals. Our momentum, even in the preseason is off the charts. Everyone is mostly healthy. Kawhi is back. I SAID KAWHI LEONARD HAS RETURNED. He is in great shape and is ready to get back to contact basketball in the player rotation. Our biggest trade in the offseason – John Wall – is also available to play and ready to prove he’s still got the juice to vie for a chip. The Inglewood arena has also broken ground on its construction and will be opening in a couple of years.

AND Bally Sports has renewed its contract with the org to be the majority broadcaster for the team in a new multi-year deal. But there are some major new developments on the TV front: 4 preseason games and 11 regular season games will be broadcasted on KTLA5. Exclusively. The network TV tentpole was actually the team’s historic broadcasting home, until around 2009. The move was encouraged and inked by the team’s now seasoned mega-owner, Steve Ballmer.

If this is going to be an extraordinary season of precedence for the Clippers, one in which they will be in the final running to battle for the league title, the rationale is that the team needs to lean into new opportunities to grow its fanbase and general exposure – seeing as supporting any basketball team that isn’t the Lakers, in LA, means your viewing options have mostly been cast into obscurity.

Any dedicated Clippers fan knows that if you’re in the LA region, and you need your weekly three or so broadcasts of your favorite team, you have to subscribe to DirecTV’s suite of services. If you aren’t paying for cable, you have to at least subscribe to the sports package with DirecTV's live TV streaming component.

A lot of us have been in a hard place since the start of the preseason. DirecTV doesn’t carry KTLA, and the network’s streaming app blacks out the games. We were itching to see how the newest version of the team flows together and I found out the hard way, after consulting the Twitter fam. So, NBA League Pass gets my money. For a month.

The hundreds of us voicing our frustrations on Twitter will probably do nothing, but it still feels good to be talking about live basketball again. Our team looks good. Contentedly so. There has been no better time to fight for and deserve the title than now – at this high point of talent, experience, and overall team chemistry.

Let the KTLA games be clunky in their broadcasts. A team of access, to those possessing cable and to the cable-less, is genuinely a team of the people. They’re a team that believes in everyone being at that victory parade in the summer, and that is a franchise I will follow – Larry O’Brien or not. It’s Clippers vs everybody in ’22, ’23.

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