The Sixers will take the court Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center to kick-off their most anticipated season in decades against the rival Boston Celtics.
In addition to stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, fans will get their first look at several new offseason additions, including shooting guard Josh Richardson and power forward Al Horford (who will be facing his former team). Forward Tobias Harris is expected to blossom in the Sixers’ offense, replacing Jimmy Butler, who was traded to the Miami Heat.
Wednesday’s game will air on NBC Sports Philadelphia, with announcers Marc Zumoff and Alaa Abdelnaby returning to call their fifth-straight season together. Serena Winters — who replaced Molly Sullivan last season — returns to handle sideline reporting duties.
The game will also air on ESPN, both in Philadelphia and nationally, with Mark Jones and ageless Hall of Famer Hubie Brown (who signed a new multi-year deal with the network last year at 86) calling the game. Hoop Streams host Cassidy Hubbarth will handle reporting duties during the network’s broadcast, and The Jump host Rachel Nichols will lead ESPN’s halftime coverage.
ESPN shook up its NBA pregame coverage during the offseason, replacing former NBA Countdown host Michelle Beadle with Maria Taylor (who will be joined regularly by Jay Williams and Jalen Rose). Another interesting wrinkle is NBA Countdown won’t air on Wednesday nights, making way for a new weekly edition of SportsCenter, anchored by outspoken First Take host and former Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Stephen A. Smith.
The Sixers-Celtics game takes place as the NBA continues to deal with a confrontation with China after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted (then quickly deleted) support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong. While there are no large protests planned at the Wells Fargo Center Wednesday night, two fans holding “Free Hong Kong” signs were ejected from the stadium earlier this month during an exhibition game against the Guangzhou Loong-Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association.
The Wells Fargo Center hasn’t put any new plans or procedures in place in case of any demonstrations, but a spokesperson said staff would be monitoring the arena and keeping an eye on anything — political or not — that disrupts fans’ experience. There is also a strict sign policy that says messages should be “appropriate for the event.”
Here’s everything you need to know to watch and stream Wednesday’s season opener:
Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers
When: Wednesday, Oct. 23
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Time: 7:30 p.m. tipoff
TV: ESPN (Mark Jones, Hubie Brown and Cassidy Hubbarth), NBC Sports Philadelphia (Marc Zumoff, Alaa Abdelnaby, Serena Winters)
Streaming: ESPN app, NBC Sports app (requires cable authentication), Fubo TV (free 7-day trial), YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, Playstation Vue, AT&T TV Now, Sling TV, NBA League Pass (all require a subscription)
Mobile: MyTeams app (requires cable authentication)
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic (Tom McGinnis)
» READ MORE: For Brett Brown and the Sixers, it’s ‘go time’
Staff writers Keith Pompey and Marc Narducci will be covering all the action live on Twitter. Notes and observations about the game will be at Inquirer.com/sixers. Don’t forget to subscribe to our new Off the Dribble newsletter.
In the latest Locked on Sixers podcast, Pompey and Narducci discuss the Sixers’ backup point-guard position and why Jamal Crawford would make a great addition to the team.
A special hour-long edition of Sixers Pregame Live starts at 6:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia, hosted by Amy Fadool alongside Jim Lynam and Marc Jackson. The three will return for Sixers Postgame Live following the game. Sixers Outsiders will follow, featuring Tyrone Johnson and Krystle Rich.
ESPN will begin its live coverage at 6 p.m., with Temple grad Kevin Negandhi on hand hosting SportsCenter at 6 p.m. First Take host Stephen A. Smith will debut a special edition of SportsCenter at 7 p.m. that will serve as the network’s pregame show every Wednesday night. Joining Smith will be Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Pardon the Interruption host Michael Wilbon, and NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
Sixers schedule for the next five games
Saturday, Oct. 26: Sixers at Detroit Pistons, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
Monday, Oct. 28: Sixers at Atlanta Hawks, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
Wednesday, Oct. 30: Minnesota Timberwolves at Sixers, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
Saturday, Nov. 2: Sixers at Portland Trail Blazers, 10 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia and NBA TV
Monday, Nov. 4: Sixers at Phoenix Suns, 9 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia