On Thursday, the Celtics will take on the Sixers at London’s O2 Arena as part of the NBA’s Global Games initiative. Tip off for the game is scheduled at 8 p.m. in London, meaning fans in Philadelphia will be treated with an early game starting at 3 p.m. EST.
Here’s how to watch the Celtics-Sixers game:
Date: Thursday, Jan. 11
Time: 3 p.m. EST
Location: The O2 Arena
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia (Marc Zumoff, Alaa Abdelnaby, Molly Sullivan)
Streaming: NBC Sports App (for cable subscribers in the Philadelphia and Boston metro market), NBA League Pass
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic (Tom McGinnis)
While the Sixers’ game in London puts a global spotlight on the team’s talented squad of young players, it also presents obvious logistical challenges for media companies covering the team. My colleague, Sixers beat writer Keith Pompey, arrived in London on Monday, and you can follow all of his coverage of the game here.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) January 9, 2018
NBC Sports Philadelphia will be broadcasting the game, which will be available on TV as well as streaming on the NBC Sports App (as long as you’re a cable subscriber and live within either the Philadelphia or Boston designated market area). In addition to some multi-platform and social media producers, the network has also sent its broadcast team to cover the game, which includes play-by-play announcer Marc Zumoff, color analyst Alaa Abdelnaby and sideline reporter Molly Sullivan.
To add a European wrinkle to the coverage, NBC Sports Philly has enlisted Arlo White, the lead play-by-play voice of NBC Sports’ coverage of the Premier League, to voice an opening tease ahead of the game’s broadcast.
“The event is bigger than just a midseason game on a Thursday against the Celtics,” said Shawn Oleksiak, vice president and executive producer of live events at NBC Sports Philadelphia. “It’s a global celebration of basketball.”
Tom McGinnis, the play-by-play announcer for games broadcast on 97.5 The Fanatic, has also made the 3,539-mile trip to call the game. Joining him is longtime public address announcer Matt Cord (this is technically a home game, after all), who is also broadcasting his morning show on 95.7 Ben FM from London through Thursday.
While having a game start so early might inconvenience Sixers fans in Philadelphia stuck at work, it’s a welcome change for basketball fans in London, who have access to games thanks to the international version of League Pass but are still forced to stay up ridiculously late to catch the end of live games.
Richard Perl, a 36-year-old Cavaliers fan living in London, told ESPN writer Motez Bishara that he’ll often show up for his job in finance on as little as two hours sleep after staying up to watch NBA games.
“It’s probably unfixable, but that is the big reality of it,” Perl said of the five-hour time difference, adding that if more NBA games started at 8 p.m. local time, “I would watch hundreds of them.”