NBA ratings have been down this season. A combination of factors influenced such a trend. NFL had a stronger regular season than previous few years, star players were injured and there was no significant drama in the NBA regular season (when it comes to standings, mind you). With these short term effects, it seems more and more fans only watch highlights and read about the drama than actually watch entire games.
This has been a topic of discussion for many years now and it boils down to the regular season length discussion. 82 games is a marathon and the NBA doesn’t have appointment viewing. The main question is: would fewer games attract more viewers, due to scarcity and greater importance on seeding, and in that way end up a net positive financially?
The problem in economics is you can’t really know unless you jump to a parallel universe. Lucky for the NBA they have a close comparative in the NCAA. Duke vs. UCF attracted 12.88 million viewers on CBS, up 37% in ratings and viewership from last year. That makes it the most viewed game in basketball this season.
Now, we have to take a few elements into account. This was the game Zion returned to the floor and it was a single elimination game so the stakes are much higher. Maybe we should wait and compare first round playoffs numbers to this game.
Another moment to realize how valuable Zion and these guys are to the NCAA and how much money they are making on “student-athletes.”
Still, it goes to show that games that have more on the line will attract more viewers which would lead to more dollars earned per game. We effectively have a shorter season but are just being cheated into paying for 82 games. Fans paying thousands of dollars for Bucks – Lakers and not seeing LeBron or Giannis (both healthy) is the height of hypocrisy.
The question is how long will the league wait for ratings to drop as more and more fans realize the 82 games thing is stupid and DNP-rests are insulting to paying customers. If a fully healthy star plays about 68-70 games per season, why are we paying for 82?
There are many ideas out there, it’s time for Adam Silver to change a few opinions and start a serious conversation with the owners.
Image Tuesday – Thursday – Saturday are NBA days and every night there is at least one important/good game on.