NBA Ratings are on the decline and it seems like that would remain the case now with players boycotting playoff games in the Orlando Bubble.
Adam Silver and co. pulled off a brilliant NBA Orlando Bubble setup in order to get the NBA up and running amidst the pandemic. The efforts of the entire organisation has been lauded, as zero players, coaches or staff have tested positive inside the Disney campus.
Thing have largely been running smoothly, however, despite their best efforts, the NBA is witnessing its worst ratings in a long, long time.
NBA Ratings decline
There are multiple factors affecting NBA’s ratings this season. Here we look at a few that might be having a direct impact:
- Afternoon playoff games in the Bubble when TV viewership isn’t that high
- Donald Trump asking to boycott the games due to excessive politicising of the league
- Timing of the NBA playoffs in August
- ‘Black Lives Matter’ backdrop of NBA return not sitting well with people who feel politics shouldn’t be mixed with sport
These various factors have led to a 20% drop in playoff ratings from last season. For NBA’s relevant demographic(18-49), the drop is even more(28%).
Since 2011, NBAs ratings have dropped 45%, but that is largely due to the super-long regular season.
TNT’s average viewership is down 40% since 2011-12. While ESPN’s viewership is down about 20% in that same time frame.
“Ratings disaster of a season, with the NBA’s most-watched game of last week trailing golf, NASCAR and wrestling.”
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) August 18, 2020
The worrying factor here is that the NBA is currently only competing with MLB. With the NFL set to begin in September, viewership will further get divided and hence the ratings could slump even further.
How will NBA boycott affect ratings?
The NBA players have boycotted the playoff games and it seems like this could trigger large scale repercussions with respect to the overall sentiment of the league.
While a large part of the NBA fraternity is totally on-board with the idea of the boycott, there are viewers who are getting increasingly frustrated with NBA players trying to mix sport with politics.
Thus, while the boycott could result in strong actions against the policeman that shot Jacob Blake, it could cause a decline in NBAs TV ratings(a small price to pay?).