LeBron James is catching strays from casual NBA fans in his own home state. A Delhi township bar has stopped screening all NBA games.
The owner of this bar cites LeBron’s hasty, misinformed tweet about the Columbus shooting as his reason. According to him, James should stay out of politics and political issues like police brutality and gun control.
“They just need to play the game and that’s it,” he said. “Their opinion doesn’t really matter. They’re using their position to push their opinions, and that’s just not right.”
Ohio is considered a rust belt state, meaning that the conservative red flag is the dominant political faction there. Despite Trump’s ouster from the White House and LeBron endorsing Biden, it remained a red state in the 2020 Presidential elections.
This should tell you that James, who’s an Ohio icon, isn’t exactly universally liked in even his home state.
Has LeBron James caused an NBA TV ratings drop?
Basketball was trending up during the MJ era and looked set to become a popular sport in America. But it registered a drop in domestic TV ratings after his second retirement, and it’s never been back there since.
Many people like to point out that the league’s ratings have not exactly been great in the LeBron era. This is objectively a pretty nonsensical way of looking at the reality of sports television today.
James’s Game 7 performance against the Golden State Warriors in 2016 drew over 30 million eyeballs. A significant number of fans worldwide were also watching his epic block on Iguodala. In fact, the Warriors-LeBron rivalry is objectively the most successful post-Jordan era in terms of television.
Now, there has been a big drop in ratings since 2017. This is due, in no small part, to the rise of illegal streaming, which has been around forever but is now at a level that it can change the playing field for the average NBA fan.
2020 was also a bad year for sports all around. Viewership counts fell as people lost interest in sports. This resulted in the 2020 NBA Finals going way under the radar.
The most hardcore NBA fans are filled with illegal streamers in their ranks. The majority of the Internet population is under 30 years old and hasn’t known life without it. A drop in ratings has also been accompanied by skyrocketing numbers of illegal streamers.