I. Introduction to the NBA Schedule
The NBA schedule is a crucial aspect of the basketball season, dictating when and where each team will play their games. It is carefully crafted to ensure fairness and competitiveness among all teams, while also considering various factors such as travel logistics, player rest, and television broadcasting.
Understanding how the NBA schedule works can provide valuable insights into the dynamics of the league and enhance your overall basketball knowledge. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of decoding the NBA schedule.
A. Factors Influencing Schedule Creation
The creation of an NBA schedule involves numerous factors that must be taken into account to ensure a balanced and equitable playing field for all teams. Some key considerations include:
- Team Availability: The availability of arenas for home games is a significant factor in scheduling. Teams share arenas with other sports franchises or host events such as concerts or conventions, which can limit their available dates.
- Travel Logistics: Minimizing excessive travel is crucial to prevent fatigue and maintain player performance throughout the season. Scheduling algorithms aim to reduce long road trips by clustering games geographically whenever possible.
- Rivalries: The NBA recognizes intense rivalries between certain teams and aims to schedule matchups that generate excitement among fans.
- National Television Broadcasts: High-profile games are often scheduled for national television broadcasts to maximize viewership and exposure for both teams involved.
B. Regular Season Structure
The regular season typically spans from October through April, with each team playing a total of 82 games – 41 at home and 41 on the road – against various opponents from both conferences. The schedule is divided into several segments:
- Preseason: Before the regular season begins, teams participate in a series of exhibition games to fine-tune their strategies and evaluate their rosters.
- Opening Night: The NBA season kicks off with a highly anticipated opening night featuring marquee matchups between prominent teams.
- Regular Season Games: Teams compete against each other in a series of games, following the schedule set by the league. These games determine playoff seeding and ultimately decide which teams advance to the postseason.
- All-Star Break: Around mid-season, the NBA takes a break for its annual All-Star Weekend festivities. This event showcases top players from both conferences in various skill competitions and an exhibition game.
C. Playoff Schedule
The NBA playoffs commence after the conclusion of the regular season and involve the top eight teams from each conference competing for a chance to win the championship. The playoff schedule follows a best-of-seven format, with four rounds leading up to the NBA Finals.
The first round consists of eight matchups within each conference, where higher-seeded teams face lower-seeded opponents. The subsequent rounds narrow down as teams progress towards conference finals and eventually reach the highly anticipated NBA Finals matchup between representatives from both conferences.
D. Schedule Release and Modifications
The official NBA schedule is typically released during late August or early September before each new season begins. However, it’s important to note that schedules are subject to modifications throughout the year due to unforeseen circumstances such as severe weather conditions or unforeseen events affecting arenas or cities hosting games.
In some cases, rescheduling may occur if conflicts arise with other major events taking place in the same city or arena. The NBA strives to accommodate these changes while minimizing disruptions to teams and fans.
Understanding the intricacies of the NBA schedule provides a deeper appreciation for the strategic planning involved in organizing a professional basketball season. It highlights how various factors are carefully considered to ensure fairness, competitiveness, and an exciting experience for players and fans alike.
II. Understanding the Structure of the NBA Season
The National Basketball Association (NBA) season is an exciting time for basketball fans all over the world. The structure of the NBA season is unique and can be a bit confusing for those who are new to the sport. In this section, we will break down the different components that make up the NBA season and expla
1. Regular Season
The NBA regular season is where teams compete against each other in a series of games to determine their rankings for the playoffs. It typically starts in October and ends in April, spanning over several months. During this time, each team plays 82 games – 41 at home and 41 on the road.
The regular season is divided into conferences: Eastern Conference and Western Conference, with 15 teams in each conference. Within these conferences, there are further divisions to create more competitive matchups.
Once the regular season concludes, it’s time for the playoffs – an intense competition where teams battle it out to become conference champions and ultimately win the NBA championship title.
In each conference, eight teams with top records qualify for the playoffs based on their performance during the regular season. These eight teams are seeded from one to eight based on their win-loss record.
- Highest Seed: The team with the best record in its respective conference becomes seed number one.
- Lowest Seed: The team with least wins among playoff qualifiers becomes seed number eight.
The playoffs consist of four rounds: First Round, Conference Semifinals, Conference Finals, and finally, The Finals where two conference champions face off against each other.
3. NBA Finals
The NBA Finals is the pinnacle of the season, where the Eastern Conference champion and Western Conference champion compete in a best-of-seven series to determine who will be crowned as the NBA champions.
The team that wins four games out of seven becomes the NBA champion. The Finals are highly anticipated and attract millions of viewers from around the world.
After an intense season, teams enter their off-season period. This is a time for players to rest, recover, and prepare for the next season. It’s also when teams make changes to their rosters through trades, free agency signings, and drafting new players.
The off-season is filled with excitement as fans eagerly await news about player movements and speculate on how these changes will impact their favorite teams’ performance in the upcoming season.
5. All-Star Weekend
In addition to regular-season games and playoffs, another highlight of the NBA calendar is All-Star Weekend. This event takes place midway through the regular season and showcases some of the league’s top talent in various competitions such as Slam Dunk Contest, Three-Point Contest, Skills Challenge, and culminates with an exhibition game featuring star players from both conferences.
All-Star Weekend provides fans with entertainment beyond regular games while honoring outstanding performances by individual players throughout the season.
Overall Goal: The goal of this article is to provide readers with a clear understanding of how the NBA season is structured – from regular-season games to playoffs leading up to The Finals – along with key events like All-Star Weekend.
Target Audience: This article targets basketball enthusiasts who may be new or unfamiliar with how professional basketball seasons work but have a general interest in learning more about it.
Competitive Analysis: Similar articles on this topic typically cover the basic structure of the NBA season. However, this article aims to go beyond that by providing more comprehensive information, including details about playoffs seeding and an overview of All-Star Weekend.
– Briefly introduce the excitement and popularity of the NBA season.
II. Understanding the Structure of the NBA Season (Current Section)
A. Regular Season
1. Number of games played by each team
2. Conferences and divisions within conferences
1. Qualification criteria for playoff teams
2. Seeding process for playoffs
C. NBA Finals
1. Best-of-seven series format
2. Determining the NBA champion
– Rest, recovery, and player movements during this period
E: All-Star Weekend
– Overview of events during All-Star Weekend and its significance in celebrating top players.
III. Key Factors Influencing the NBA Schedule
The NBA schedule is a complex and carefully crafted document that takes into account various factors to ensure fairness, competitiveness, and logistical feasibility. Several key factors influence the creation of the NBA schedule, including:
1. Team Availability and Travel Considerations
One of the primary considerations in creating the NBA schedule is ensuring that each team has an equal number of home and away games throughout the season. This helps maintain a level playing field for all teams by minimizing any potential advantages or disadvantages associated with playing more games in one location.
In addition to balancing home and away games, travel considerations are also taken into account. The NBA aims to minimize long-distance travel for teams whenever possible to reduce fatigue and maximize player performance.
To achieve this, scheduling algorithms analyze various factors such as distance between cities, time zones, back-to-back game scenarios, and rest days between games. By optimizing travel schedules, the league aims to create a fair playing field for all teams.
2. National Television Broadcasts
National television broadcasts play a significant role in determining certain aspects of the NBA schedule. High-profile matchups featuring popular teams or star players are often selected for national broadcast coverage on networks like ESPN or TNT.
The league works closely with its broadcasting partners to identify key games that will generate high viewership ratings and attract a large audience. These nationally televised games typically take place on specific days such as Christmas Day or Martin Luther King Jr. Day when there is increased viewership due to holidays.
The scheduling algorithm ensures that each team gets an opportunity for national exposure while also considering other factors like rest days before or after these high-profile matchups.
3. Arena Availability
Arena availability is another crucial factor in determining the NBA schedule. Each team has its own home arena, and these arenas often host other events such as concerts, ice hockey games, or other sporting events.
The league works closely with arena management to coordinate schedules and ensure that there are no conflicts between NBA games and other events. This requires careful planning and coordination to accommodate both the NBA schedule and the needs of the arenas.
In some cases, teams may have to play a series of road games if their home arena is unavailable due to conflicting events. The scheduling algorithm takes into account these constraints to minimize disruptions for teams while also considering fairness in terms of rest days between home and away games.
4. Rivalries and Historical Matchups
Rivalries and historical matchups are an important aspect of the NBA schedule. These matchups generate excitement among fans and often result in highly competitive games.
The league aims to showcase these rivalries by scheduling multiple matchups between teams with a long-standing history of intense competition or memorable moments on the court. Examples include classic rivalries like Lakers vs Celtics or Bulls vs Pistons.
By strategically scheduling these rivalries throughout the season, the NBA ensures that fans get an opportunity to witness these exciting matchups while also maintaining balance across all teams’ schedules.
5. Player Rest Considerations
In recent years, player rest has become a significant consideration in creating the NBA schedule. The league recognizes that player health is crucial for maintaining high-quality competition throughout the season.
To address this concern, rules have been implemented regarding resting players during nationally televised games or marquee matchups without valid reasons such as injury or illness. The scheduling algorithm takes into account rest days for players when creating back-to-back game scenarios or long road trips.
The NBA schedule is a complex undertaking that considers various factors to ensure fairness, competitiveness, and logistical feasibility. Team availability, travel considerations, national television broadcasts, arena availability, rivalries and historical matchups, and player rest all play important roles in shaping the schedule. By carefully balancing these factors, the NBA aims to provide an exciting and fair season for players and fans alike.
IV. Decoding the NBA Regular Season Schedule
The NBA regular season schedule is a complex and carefully crafted plan that determines when and where each team will play their games throughout the season. It takes into account various factors such as travel, rest days, television broadcasting schedules, and rivalries to create a balanced and fair competition for all teams.
1. The Process of Creating the Schedule
The creation of the NBA regular season schedule involves a meticulous process that starts months before the start of the season. The league’s scheduling department uses advanced computer algorithms to generate thousands of potential schedules based on different criteria.
These criteria include:
- Travel: The distance between cities is considered to minimize travel time and fatigue for players.
- Rivalries: Certain matchups between teams are given priority to maximize fan interest and excitement.
- Broadcasting: National television partners have specific requirements for which games they want to air, so these preferences are taken into account during scheduling.
- Arena availability: Some arenas may have scheduling conflicts with other events like concerts or hockey games, so alternative dates need to be found.
2. Balancing Home and Away Games
To ensure fairness in the schedule, each team plays an equal number of home and away games throughout the season. This means that every team will have an equal opportunity to showcase their skills in front of their home fans as well as face challenging road trips against other teams in different cities.
3. Rest Days and Back-to-Back Games
The NBA recognizes the importance of player health and well-being, so rest days are built into the schedule to allow players to recover and avoid injuries. However, due to the limited number of days in a season, teams often have to play back-to-back games where they compete on consecutive nights.
Back-to-back games can be physically demanding for players, especially when they involve long-distance travel. The league tries its best to minimize the number of back-to-back games for each team, but it is not always possible to eliminate them entirely.
4. Special Dates and Events
The NBA regular season schedule includes several special dates and events that add excitement and significance to certain games:
- Opening Night: The first game of the regular season marks the official start of NBA action and is often highly anticipated by fans.
- Holiday Games: On holidays like Christmas Day or Martin Luther King Jr. Day, marquee matchups between top teams are scheduled for national television broadcasts.
- Rivalry Games: Certain rivalries in the NBA have a long history and generate intense competition between teams. These rivalry games are given special attention in the schedule.
- All-Star Break: In the middle of the season, there is a break during which players participate in various All-Star festivities such as the All-Star Game and Slam Dunk Contest.
5. Flexibility and Schedule Changes
The NBA regular season schedule is subject to changes throughout the year due to unforeseen circumstances such as severe weather conditions or arena issues. In such cases, games may be rescheduled or relocated to ensure player safety and maintain fairness in competition.
The decoding of the NBA regular season schedule reveals a complex process that takes into account various factors to create a balanced and fair competition for all teams. From travel considerations to rest days and special events, the schedule is carefully crafted to provide an exciting and engaging experience for players and fans alike.
V. Analyzing the Importance of Home and Away Games in the NBA Schedule
In the fast-paced world of professional basketball, every game matters. The NBA schedule is carefully crafted to ensure fairness and excitement for both players and fans alike. One key aspect that plays a significant role in determining the outcome of games is whether they are played at home or away.
1. The Impact of Home Court Advantage
Home court advantage is a well-known phenomenon in sports, including basketball. When a team plays on their home court, they benefit from several factors that can give them an edge over their opponents.
- Familiarity: Playing at home allows teams to be more familiar with their surroundings, such as the dimensions of the court and lighting conditions. This familiarity can contribute to better shooting percentages and overall performance.
- Crowd Support: The energy and support from a team’s home crowd can provide an emotional boost for players. The cheers and chants create an electric atmosphere that can intimidate opposing teams and motivate the home team to perform at their best.
- Routine: Being at home allows players to follow their regular routines leading up to game time, which includes sleeping in their own beds, eating familiar meals, and having access to all necessary facilities. These routines help maintain consistency and comfort for players.
2. Challenges Faced During Away Games
Away games present unique challenges for teams as they have to contend with unfamiliar environments while facing hostile crowds supporting the opposing team.
- Fatigue: Traveling long distances between cities can lead to fatigue among players due to jet lag or disrupted sleep patterns. This physical strain can impact their performance on the court.
- Hostile Crowd: Playing in front of a hostile crowd can create a daunting atmosphere for visiting teams. The constant noise, booing, and heckling can disrupt concentration and put additional pressure on players.
- Lack of Familiarity: Away games mean playing in unfamiliar arenas with different court dimensions, lighting conditions, and even different rims. These factors can affect shooting accuracy and overall gameplay.
3. Statistical Analysis: Home vs Away Performance
To understand the true impact of home and away games in the NBA schedule, let’s dive into some statistical analysis.
|Average Points Scored per Game
|Average Points Allowed per Game
VI. The Role of Rest and Travel in the NBA Schedule
In the fast-paced world of professional basketball, rest and travel play a crucial role in the NBA schedule. Teams are constantly on the move, traveling from one city to another to compete against different opponents. This section explores how rest and travel impact players’ performance and overall team dynamics.
The Importance of Rest
Rest is essential for athletes to recover physically and mentally from intense games. In the NBA, players often have tight schedules with back-to-back games or even three games in four nights. This grueling pace can take a toll on their bodies, leading to fatigue and increased risk of injuries.
Research has shown that adequate rest improves athletic performance by allowing muscles to repair themselves, reducing the risk of overuse injuries, improving reaction time, and enhancing cognitive function. It also helps players maintain their energy levels throughout a long season.
NBA teams recognize the importance of rest and incorporate it into their training programs. Coaches carefully manage playing time for each player, ensuring they get enough rest between games. They may also schedule lighter practice sessions or days off during particularly demanding stretches of the season.
The Impact of Travel
Travel is an inevitable part of playing in the NBA due to its geographically dispersed teams. Players often have to fly long distances overnight or make multiple trips within a short period. This constant movement can disrupt sleep patterns, increase fatigue levels, and affect overall well-being.
The effects of travel are more pronounced when teams have back-to-back games in different cities or face significant time zone changes. Jet lag can disrupt sleep quality, impair concentration, decrease reaction times, and negatively impact performance on court.
To mitigate these challenges associated with travel, teams employ various strategies such as adjusting practice schedules, providing players with comfortable accommodations, and implementing sleep management techniques. Some teams even hire sleep specialists to help players optimize their rest while on the road.
Strategies for Managing Rest and Travel
NBA teams employ several strategies to manage rest and travel effectively:
- Scheduling considerations: The NBA tries to minimize the number of back-to-back games for each team, allowing players more time to recover between matches. They also aim to reduce instances where teams have multiple games in a short span.
- Charter flights: Many NBA teams use charter flights instead of commercial airlines to provide players with more comfort during travel. This helps minimize disruptions and allows for better rest.
- Sleep optimization: Teams prioritize sleep as an integral part of player performance. They provide guidelines on maintaining good sleep hygiene, such as avoiding electronic devices before bed, creating a conducive sleeping environment, and establishing consistent bedtime routines.
- Nutrition and hydration: Proper nutrition and hydration are essential for athletes’ recovery. Teams ensure that players have access to healthy meals during travel and emphasize the importance of staying hydrated throughout their journeys.
VII. Exploring Back-to-Back Games in the NBA Schedule
Back-to-back games in the NBA schedule have always been a topic of discussion among fans and analysts. These games occur when a team plays two consecutive games on consecutive days, with little to no rest in between. In this section, we will delve into the impact of back-to-back games on teams, players, and overall game performance.
The Physical Toll on Players
Playing back-to-back games can take a toll on players’ bodies due to the lack of recovery time. The physical demands of basketball require intense exertion and can lead to fatigue and increased risk of injury. Research has shown that players tend to experience decreased shooting accuracy, reduced speed, and higher turnover rates during back-to-backs compared to regular games.
Furthermore, studies have indicated that players’ performance declines as they accumulate more minutes played throughout the season. This decline is even more pronounced during back-to-backs when fatigue sets in faster due to limited rest periods.
The Mental Challenges
In addition to physical strain, back-to-back games present mental challenges for both players and coaches. Teams often have less time for preparation and scouting their opponents since they are playing on consecutive days. This can affect game strategy and decision-making processes.
Mental fatigue also comes into play as players must maintain focus over multiple high-intensity matches within a short period. The pressure to perform at their best despite tiredness can lead to decreased concentration levels and decision-making errors.
The condensed nature of back-to-back schedules increases the risk of injuries for NBA players. Fatigue from previous matches combined with limited recovery time puts additional stress on muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments—making them more susceptible to strains, sprains, and other injuries.
Research has shown that players are more likely to sustain injuries during back-to-back games compared to regular games. The risk is particularly high for players who already have pre-existing injuries or those who play heavy minutes throughout the season.
The impact of back-to-back games on team performance can vary depending on various factors such as team depth, player rotation strategies, and overall fitness levels. Some teams may thrive under these conditions, while others may struggle.
Teams with deep benches and well-managed player rotations tend to fare better during back-to-backs as they can distribute playing time more evenly and provide adequate rest for key players. On the other hand, teams heavily reliant on star players may experience a drop in performance due to fatigue or potential injury concerns.
The NBA recognizes the challenges posed by back-to-back games and has made efforts in recent years to reduce their frequency. The league aims to prioritize player health and safety while ensuring a fair competitive balance across all teams.
Schedule optimization algorithms have been implemented to minimize instances of consecutive game nights for each team throughout the season. This allows for more rest periods between matches, reducing the physical strain on players and improving overall game quality.
Back-to-back games in the NBA schedule present unique challenges for both players and teams. The physical toll, mental challenges, increased injury risk, and potential impact on team performance make them an important aspect of analyzing game outcomes.
While efforts have been made by the league to mitigate these challenges through improved scheduling practices, it remains crucial for coaches and trainers to manage player workload effectively during back-to-backs. By prioritizing rest periods and implementing strategic rotations, teams can optimize performance and minimize the negative effects of consecutive games.
VIII. Examining National TV Games in the NBA Schedule
The NBA schedule is always highly anticipated by basketball fans around the world. It provides a roadmap for the upcoming season, showcasing when and where their favorite teams will be playing. One aspect of the schedule that often generates excitement is the national TV games.
1. What are national TV games?
National TV games refer to NBA matchups that are broadcasted on major television networks such as ESPN, ABC, TNT, and NBA TV. These games receive widespread coverage and reach a larger audience compared to regional broadcasts.
2. How are national TV games determined?
The selection process for national TV games involves various factors including team popularity, star power, rivalries, and potential storylines. The NBA works closely with its broadcasting partners to create an enticing schedule that maximizes viewership.
Each team has a certain number of guaranteed appearances on national television based on their market size and overall appeal. Additionally, marquee matchups between popular teams or superstar players often receive priority when it comes to scheduling these nationally televised games.
3. Why are national TV games important?
National TV games provide an opportunity for teams and players to showcase their skills on a bigger stage. These high-profile matchups attract more attention from fans across the country and even internationally.
For teams with championship aspirations or those looking to make a statement in the league, performing well in these nationally televised contests can significantly boost their reputation and increase exposure.
4. Impact on fan experience
National TV games offer fans who do not have access to local broadcasts an opportunity to watch their favorite teams compete against other top-tier opponents from around the league.
These games often feature intense rivalries, thrilling finishes, and highlight-reel plays that captivate viewers. The excitement generated by national TV games adds to the overall fan experience and helps grow the popularity of the NBA.
5. Impact on players
For players, performing well in national TV games can have a significant impact on their careers. These high-stakes matchups provide an opportunity to showcase their skills in front of a larger audience, including fans, coaches, and sponsors.
A standout performance in a nationally televised game can elevate a player’s status within the league and increase their chances of earning endorsements or securing lucrative contracts.
6. Scheduling challenges
The NBA schedule is carefully crafted to ensure fairness and balance for all teams. However, accommodating national TV games while considering travel logistics and player rest can be challenging.
The league aims to avoid scheduling back-to-back games for teams appearing in national TV matchups whenever possible. This allows players to have adequate rest between these high-profile contests.
7. Flexibility in scheduling
The NBA schedule is not set in stone at the beginning of the season. The league has implemented flexible scheduling mechanisms that allow for adjustments based on team performance and emerging storylines.
If certain teams exceed expectations or unexpected rivalries develop during the season, additional national TV appearances may be allocated to accommodate these changes.
8. Viewing options
- Fans can watch national TV games through cable or satellite subscriptions that include channels like ESPN, ABC, TNT, or NBA TV.
- NBA League Pass offers an option for fans to stream live games online or via mobile devices but blackout restrictions may apply for nationally televised contests due to broadcasting rights.
- Social media platforms and streaming services may also provide highlights and clips from national TV games for fans to catch up on the action.
IX. Frequently Asked Questions about Decoding the NBA Schedule
As basketball fans eagerly await the start of a new NBA season, one topic that often sparks curiosity is how the schedule is created. To shed some light on this intriguing process, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about decoding the NBA schedule.
1. How is the NBA schedule determined?
The NBA schedule is not randomly generated but rather carefully crafted by league officials and computer algorithms. It takes into account various factors such as team availability, arena availability, travel logistics, television broadcast requirements, and competitive balance.
2. Who creates the NBA schedule?
The task of creating the NBA schedule falls upon a dedicated team within the league office known as the Scheduling Department. This group utilizes advanced software and algorithms to optimize scheduling decisions while adhering to numerous constraints.
3. What factors influence scheduling decisions?
Scheduling decisions are influenced by several key factors:
- Team Availability: The scheduling team considers each team’s preferred dates for home games and any specific requests or restrictions they may have.
- Arena Availability: The availability of arenas for hosting games plays a significant role in determining when and where teams will play.
- Travel Logistics: Minimizing travel fatigue is crucial for player performance, so efforts are made to reduce long road trips or back-to-back games with extensive travel distances.
- Broadcast Requirements: National and local television networks have broadcasting contracts with specific game slots that need to be filled throughout the season.
- Competitive Balance:The league strives to create an equitable playing field by ensuring teams have a fair distribution of home and away games, as well as avoiding excessive stretches of difficult opponents.
4. How far in advance is the NBA schedule created?
The NBA schedule is typically released in August, a few months before the start of the regular season. This allows teams, players, and fans to plan their schedules accordingly.
5. Can the NBA schedule be changed after it’s released?
In some cases, minor adjustments may be made to the schedule after its initial release. These changes could occur due to unforeseen circumstances such as severe weather conditions or other unexpected events that impact game logistics.
6. Are there any patterns or trends in the NBA schedule?
While every season’s schedule is unique, certain patterns and trends can be observed:
- Rivalries: The league often schedules marquee matchups between rival teams on key dates to maximize fan interest and television ratings.
- National TV Games: Certain teams with larger fan bases or superstar players are more likely to receive a higher number of nationally televised games throughout the season.
- Scheduling Imbalances: Due to various constraints and factors mentioned earlier, there might be slight imbalances in terms of rest days between games or strength of opponents faced by different teams.
7. Is there any strategy behind scheduling back-to-back games?
Scheduling back-to-back games can pose challenges for teams due to limited recovery time between matches. However, these instances are unavoidable given logistical constraints such as arena availability and travel considerations. The league aims to minimize back-to-backs whenever possible but sometimes they are necessary for completing the full schedule within the designated timeframe.
8. How does the NBA handle scheduling conflicts?
In cases where scheduling conflicts arise, such as concerts or other events taking place in arenas, the league works closely with teams and venue operators to find alternative dates or venues for affected games. The goal is always to ensure that each team has a fair and balanced schedule.
9. Are there any plans to change the way NBA schedules are created?
The NBA continually evaluates its scheduling process and explores ways to improve it. The league takes into account feedback from teams, players, fans, and other stakeholders to make adjustments when necessary.
10. Can fans influence the NBA schedule?
While individual fan preferences cannot directly impact the overall NBA schedule, fan support and attendance play a crucial role in determining which teams receive more nationally televised games or prime-time slots throughout the season.