Buried in the Atlanta Hawks’ new schedule is a pretty important change for fans

The National Basketball Association released its 2015-16 regular season schedule on Wednesday, and fans of the Atlanta Hawks should be rather pleased with one small change.

Instead of starting their home games at 7 or 7:30 p.m., as they’ve done in the past, the Hawks will play all their home games at 8 p.m. this year.

Why? Traffic, that’s why.

(Also read: What’s happening to Georgia’s gas prices?)

In an interview with Atlanta sports radio station 92.9 The Game, Hawks CEO Steve Koonin – who is one of Atlanta greatest living treasures, trust me – said on the “Dukes and Bell” show Thursday afternoon that they’ve noticed a 20-percent spike in the number of fans that come through the gates after 8 p.m. on game nights.

You might have noticed the late-arriving crowds during the last year’s playoff games at Philips Arena. Traffic is no joke, and getting down to the arena for a 7 p.m. tip is extremely difficult for those who work in the northern suburbs, or even Buckhead.

The Hawks are also being rewarded for a great 2014-15 season with 17 nationally televised games in the upcoming year, according to Peachtree Hoops. They’ll be on ESPN six times, TNT twice, and both of their games against the Golden State Warriors will be televised on NBA TV.

Photo: AP/John Bazemore

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