What the Huge Drop in NBA Viewers Tells Us

Spoofin

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Is it affecting all sports?
Highly unlikely what the NBA does would affect other sports. Not impossible, but unlikely. All sports are down and there are a number of factors why - of which the NBA isn't immune to. Still, it is ridiculous to not consider that it might be negatively affecting the NBA. I missed the part where it is all or nothing.
 

Minnesota

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Highly unlikely what the NBA does would affect other sports. Not impossible, but unlikely. All sports are down and there are a number of factors why - of which the NBA isn't immune to. Still, it is ridiculous to not consider that it might be negatively affecting the NBA. I missed the part where it is all or nothing.
Are you able to read?
 

Spoofin

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Are you able to read?
Yes. I can read when someone is dismissing it and saying it is having no effect on NBA ratings:
This is a really dumb talking point. Stanley Cup Final ratings are down 61 percent. MLB playoff ratings are down 39 percent. Even the NFL is down 14 percent.

The reality is that there is a pandemic and the 4 major sports were all playing at the same time.
I can also see when @Minnesota goes to his "go to" of calling someone a racist.
Grievance politics. You have an issue with black men excelling in a purely meritocratic field.
 

Iceland12

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But the theory that fans are turned off by “wokeness” doesn’t hold up when you consider the following:

  • Ratings for the Stanley Cup Finals were down 61% from last year, averaging 2.1 million viewers.
  • The final round of the U.S. Open golf tournament had 3.2 million viewers, by far the fewest going back more than 30 years.
  • The U.S. Open tennis tournament viewership fell sharply on ESPN, down 45% from the year before. The French Open is down 57% so far on NBC.
  • The Kentucky Derby, which normally gets around 15 million viewers, only had 9.3 million at its rescheduled slot in September.
  • Even the NFL, which has had some bright spots in the ratings thus far and seems to be holding steady, has had trouble getting viewers in certain windows like Thursday night, which has recorded consecutive lows for prime-time games. There are four factors contributing to that.
    1. There’s a certain level of cannibalization on the calendar. As an example, Monday's Game 1 of the Rays-Yankees AL Division Series had 2.3 million viewers on TBS, which was one-third less than a similar time slot on TBS last year. Also a year ago, the baseball game was going up against a "Monday Night Football" broadcast, but this week's Rays-Yankees matchup was competing against two NFL games because one had been moved from Sunday due to a COVID-19 outbreak
    2. It’s not part of our natural cycle to be watching sports on weekday afternoons or NBA Finals games in October or Triple Crown races on a college football Saturday. “We get used to watching certain things or having particular sports be part of our lives at certain times of the year,” said Dennis Deninger, a former ESPN production executive, who is now a professor in sports communications at Syracuse University’s Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. “If you move sports from their natural positions to places that they’re unfamiliar, they’re competing with sports that are traditionally seen in those time periods and everyone suffers a little bit.”
    3. Lack of fans in the stands is a psychological cue that these games don’t mean as much. “The crowd going crazy is part of the allure of watching sports on TV,” Karp said. “Crowd goes wild is an expression for a reason.”
    4. There’s a presidential election going on in a highly charged political climate, which echoes some of the data Karp saw from 2016 when some news and commentary shows were up 30%. “Viewership in cable news networks is up significantly, and right now, especially once the president got COVID, that’s all anyone was watching,” Karp said. "It affected college football numbers (last weekend). It affected everything.
 

BarnBurner

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But the theory that fans are turned off by “wokeness” doesn’t hold up when you consider the following:

  • Ratings for the Stanley Cup Finals were down 61% from last year, averaging 2.1 million viewers.
  • The final round of the U.S. Open golf tournament had 3.2 million viewers, by far the fewest going back more than 30 years.
  • The U.S. Open tennis tournament viewership fell sharply on ESPN, down 45% from the year before. The French Open is down 57% so far on NBC.
  • The Kentucky Derby, which normally gets around 15 million viewers, only had 9.3 million at its rescheduled slot in September.
  • Even the NFL, which has had some bright spots in the ratings thus far and seems to be holding steady, has had trouble getting viewers in certain windows like Thursday night, which has recorded consecutive lows for prime-time games. There are four factors contributing to that.
    1. There’s a certain level of cannibalization on the calendar. As an example, Monday's Game 1 of the Rays-Yankees AL Division Series had 2.3 million viewers on TBS, which was one-third less than a similar time slot on TBS last year. Also a year ago, the baseball game was going up against a "Monday Night Football" broadcast, but this week's Rays-Yankees matchup was competing against two NFL games because one had been moved from Sunday due to a COVID-19 outbreak
    2. It’s not part of our natural cycle to be watching sports on weekday afternoons or NBA Finals games in October or Triple Crown races on a college football Saturday. “We get used to watching certain things or having particular sports be part of our lives at certain times of the year,” said Dennis Deninger, a former ESPN production executive, who is now a professor in sports communications at Syracuse University’s Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. “If you move sports from their natural positions to places that they’re unfamiliar, they’re competing with sports that are traditionally seen in those time periods and everyone suffers a little bit.”
    3. Lack of fans in the stands is a psychological cue that these games don’t mean as much. “The crowd going crazy is part of the allure of watching sports on TV,” Karp said. “Crowd goes wild is an expression for a reason.”
    4. There’s a presidential election going on in a highly charged political climate, which echoes some of the data Karp saw from 2016 when some news and commentary shows were up 30%. “Viewership in cable news networks is up significantly, and right now, especially once the president got COVID, that’s all anyone was watching,” Karp said. "It affected college football numbers (last weekend). It affected everything.
Think what you wish - many, many longtime fans of professional sports have walked away due to the woke garbage. And they wont return.
 

Iceland12

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Think what you wish - many, many longtime fans of professional sports have walked away due to the woke garbage. And they wont return.
You must read really fast. :D

Not disputing that. Would be idiotic to do that. Just don't think that tennis, golf, horse racing is full of that "woke garbage" and yet they're down too.

That would indicate it's not all about the "woke" part wouldn't it?
 
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MennoSota

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White people hate uppity Blacks, I have heard it from people at work and my own family. Of course they are careful to tread the line and not go full racist asshole.
Meh. You would purchase ocean front property in Nevada.
 

Wally

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Highly unlikely what the NBA does would affect other sports. Not impossible, but unlikely. All sports are down and there are a number of factors why - of which the NBA isn't immune to. Still, it is ridiculous to not consider that it might be negatively affecting the NBA. I missed the part where it is all or nothing.
My uncle said he won't watch any sports anymore because of all this, meaning racial justice stuff.
 
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golf

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Barreiro on Morey's stepping down, "China expected to name his replacement.".
 

LakevilleBro

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White people hate uppity Blacks, I have heard it from people at work and my own family. Of course they are careful to tread the line and not go full racist asshole.
I disagree with you 100% Where the heck do you work??
 

jamiche

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This is a better take. People like fair play and they perceive that players, such as Lebron James, have colluded to stack teams and thus eliminate true and fair competition. The disgust for such collusion then becomes magnified when celebrities venture, ignorantly, into politics and social opinion in an effort to bully the American public into agreeing with them.
IMO, they should stick to marketing the NBA and earn their paycheck. Celebrity players, are hurting the NBA brand by promoting self-beliefs as though they are league beliefs. The commissioner of the NBA needs to step in and lay out the exact marketing strategy that all person's in the league will follow. Failure to comply with the company brand will result in heavy fines and possible dismissure from the league. This is the only way of keeping everyone on brand and fixing the marketing fiasco they now have.
So they should shut up and dribble. Got it, tiny.
 

Bayfieldgopher

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Well said. Only obsessed people who politicize everything would stop watching a sport because of politics and, thankfully, those people represent a relatively low proportion of the population.

What you mentioned was a significant factor. Another contributing factor was just the long suspension of sports in general. The addiction for watching sports was broken to a degree during its absence and people acquired substitute activities, including watching other type of programing more often during that time. When sports resumed, people just didn't suddenly stop those alternative activities completely.
NBA's Silver admitted that championing social justice issues has not been universally popular. He also said that there won't be a BLM presence next year comparable to this season. That indicates that people are fed up with their position and their liberal cause. MLB and the NFL have not seen a major drop in viewing audience nor have they politicized the issues similar to the NBA. I saw one report that said the MLB viewers were actually up 4%.
 

BarnBurner

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You must read really fast. :D

Not disputing that. Would be idiotic to do that. Just don't think that tennis, golf, horse racing is full of that "woke garbage" and yet they're down too.

That would indicate it's not all about the "woke" part wouldn't it?
Perhaps not. However, myself, other family members, friends, even my chiropractor has walked away. Because of the woke garbage.
 

BarnBurner

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Not true, dude. He can read the name of the manufacturer on the urinals that he cleans.
At one point in my life I did clean for a living. Proud of it.
Jam jam clan couldn’t do it. Physically too much for jamm.
 

Spoofin

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You must read really fast. :D

Not disputing that. Would be idiotic to do that. Just don't think that tennis, golf, horse racing is full of that "woke garbage" and yet they're down too.

That would indicate it's not all about the "woke" part wouldn't it?
FTR - the ratings for the KY Derby may have been down (although that isn't a fair comparison since every single other year it is held on the first Saturday in May), but horse racing is most certainly not down this year. In fact, many tracks have set records for the handle during the pandemic and IIRC, TVG viewership was up like 40% in the Spring.
 

MennoSota

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So they should shut up and dribble. Got it, tiny.
They should do their job and share their opinion with their friends on their own time...like you and me are doing.
 

Wally

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I disagree with you 100% Where the heck do you work??
They use code language like several righties here, but the meaning is very clear. The protests and black players support of them made them refuse to watch any sports, listen to kfan ect ect. I just laugh at them and say whatever makes you happy....
 

coolhandgopher

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FTR - the ratings for the KY Derby may have been down (although that isn't a fair comparison since every single other year it is held on the first Saturday in May), but horse racing is most certainly not down this year. In fact, many tracks have set records for the handle during the pandemic and IIRC, TVG viewership was up like 40% in the Spring.
You do realize that the NBA playoffs typically occur through May and June, exclusively in the evenings or weekends, when there's no football and baseball isn't halfway through their season?
 

Iceland12

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NBA's Silver admitted that championing social justice issues has not been universally popular. He also said that there won't be a BLM presence next year comparable to this season. That indicates that people are fed up with their position and their liberal cause. MLB and the NFL have not seen a major drop in viewing audience nor have they politicized the issues similar to the NBA. I saw one report that said the MLB viewers were actually up 4%.
The NBA "social justice" response had to drive away some viewers, but that doesn't address golf, HNL, tennis and Horse racing numbers also going down.

As for that 4% increase for MLB? Forbes points out that only 25 teams participate in that study. They call it an "apples to orange zest" comparison. Though that 4%up is pretty good against the 24% decrease of broadcast TV but they also added "digital viewers" to the numbers.

"In a season unlike any other, Major League Baseball saw viewership increase while ratings were down because of a lower number of households being tracked. This is how, in an upside-down season, comparing sports viewership numbers from last year with 2020 is not apples-to-apples. It’s more like apples to apple cider with orange zest.

This year, Nielsen NLSN +0.7% moved to track viewers not just at home but also digitally. This provides a window into true viewership, something that’s been missing for some time as mobile via over-the-top (OTT) has become a large part of the equation. The problem is, not all of MLB’s regional sports networks are part of the paid service now provided by Nielsen. Currently, only 25 RSN MLB teams play their home games in Nielsen Local People Meter markets where demographic audience information is available daily and play on an RSN that pays for Nielsen’s NSI service in that market. Of the viewership data provided by Home Team Sports, a division of FOX Sports, four U.S. club RSNs have ratings numbers this year, but not viewership because of the metering constraints: the Kansas City Royals (ratings down 9% with a 4.61 compared to 5.08 in 2019), Cincinnati Reds (down 18% with a 4.67 rating compared to 5.72 last season), Milwaukee Brewers (down 35% with a 4.26 rating compared to 6.53 in 2019) and San Diego Padres (up 37% with a 5.55 compared to 4.05 last season). But as we’ll see, those numbers don’t paint the true viewership picture.

n addition, because Nielsen moved to track people who are mobile, the total number of traditional TV households has dropped. With that, nearly every MLB RSN shows a ratings decline while viewership has gone up. So as with so much else in 2020, the question of whether viewership was up, down or sideways requires some guesswork..

 
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Iceland12

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FTR - the ratings for the KY Derby may have been down (although that isn't a fair comparison since every single other year it is held on the first Saturday in May), but horse racing is most certainly not down this year. In fact, many tracks have set records for the handle during the pandemic and IIRC, TVG viewership was up like 40% in the Spring.
That's a fair point but it along with the odd seasons for the NHL, NBA and other sports were addresses in that same post/article:

  1. There’s a certain level of cannibalization on the calendar. As an example, Monday's Game 1 of the Rays-Yankees AL Division Series had 2.3 million viewers on TBS, which was one-third less than a similar time slot on TBS last year. Also a year ago, the baseball game was going up against a "Monday Night Football" broadcast, but this week's Rays-Yankees matchup was competing against two NFL games because one had been moved from Sunday due to a COVID-19 outbreak
  2. It’s not part of our natural cycle to be watching sports on weekday afternoons or NBA Finals games in October or Triple Crown races on a college football Saturday. “We get used to watching certain things or having particular sports be part of our lives at certain times of the year,” said Dennis Deninger, a former ESPN production executive, who is now a professor in sports communications at Syracuse University’s Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. “If you move sports from their natural positions to places that they’re unfamiliar, they’re competing with sports that are traditionally seen in those time periods and everyone suffers a little bit.”
 

CutDownTheNet

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The key passage from the OP is "IMO." FYI and BTW, this doesn't have to be a matter of opinion. This is the kind of thing that can be determined from surveys. Has there been polling on this subject?
I read about one poll on the NBA that claimed (although I don't know how they would do that) to separate negative NBA opinions re their refusal to condemn China for China's human-rights violations, from negative NBA opinions due to their hyper-wokeness on BLM issues.

If I recall, they claimed about 20% NBA negativity due to not condemming China's human-rights issues while making billions in the China market, and 40% negativity due to hyper-workness and continually forcing ill-formed opinions that police are slaughtering blacks by the myriads. Not sure if these are linearly additive, but you add lack of enthusiasm due to no audiences thanks to Covid, and that pretty much explains the decline.

What I find ironic is that the 20% bad image for the NBA dealings with China is re "not woke enough" on its China attitude, while the 40% bad image for the NBA emphasis on BLM stuff is re "too woke."
 

Iceland12

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The NBA product has been garbage and falling since the Jordan era.
Nah, gotta go back before that.;)

Jordan and Pippen got a free ride to the Finals for years. Hell, the year they played without Jordan they won 55 but lost in the 2nd Round of the playoffs. Same place they ended when Jordan came back at the end of the next season.

Nope, probable have to go back to the 80's and mid- 90's when Houston, Lakers, Celtics, Pistons and Philly all had good to great teams and hardly anybody got cakewalk to the Finals.
 
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