The NBA is shaking things up by turning the game clock off for the fourth quarter of Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, and TNT, in turn, is upending its traditional ad format for its coverage of the game and will air the fourth quarter ad-free, the network said today.
Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game 2020, presented by Kia, will include several changes. The new fourth-quarter format will honor NBA legend Kobe Bryant, according to the league. Bryant died tragically Jan. 26 after a helicopter accident that also claimed the life of his daughter Gianna and seven other victims.
Because the fourth quarter will run without any game clock stoppage, TNT will not air any ads during that time.
“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, evp and chief content officer, Turner Sports, in a statement.
WarnerMedia said the ad-free fourth quarter will not affect overall ad loads during the game and isn’t expected to dent its All-Star Game ad revenue.
The first three quarters of the game—featuring Team Giannis (led by Giannis Antetokounmpo) and Team LeBron (led by LeBron James)—will each start with a 0-0 score and will be 12 minutes long.
For the fourth quarter, the game clock will be turned off and a “final target score” will be set, taking the leading team’s total cumulative score through the three quarters and adding 24 points, in honor of Bryant’s jersey number for his final 10 NBA seasons. The first time to reach that score will win the All-Star Game.
TNT’s All-Star Game coverage will include a Los Angeles Lakers-themed tribute to Bryant within the virtual shot clock, which will display a combination of gold and purple accents at 24 seconds and eight seconds remaining on the clock during the fourth quarter, in honor of Bryant’s 8 and 24 jersey numbers.
During his NBA career, Bryant earned 18 NBA All-Star selections and was named All-Star Game MVP four times.