Boycott the NF . . . er . . .NBA!
You wouldn’t know it since its stuffed down our throat, but the NBA ratings are way down. Here’s why.
When Colin Kaepernick started to kneel during the national anthem we heard mostly conservative fans saying they would “Boycott the National Football League.”
It doesn’t seem to be working. NFL TV ratings are up, and while the league may receive more negative publicity than before, that’s not the end of the world for the NFL.
Better to receive negative publicity than no publicity at all. Better to have publicity regarding concussions to reduce concussions, by 30 percent according to Roger Goodell earlier this month in his state of the game speech, than to sweep it under the rug, which of course the NFL did before.
But while the NFL continues it’s lordly reign and any supposed boycott looks as obsolete as “54–40 or Fight,” has anyone noticed how the National Basketball Association has lost plenty of viewers and yet nary a peep is mentioned about it?
On Sunday the NBA All-Star Game drew a 3.8 rating. That’s worse than Game Five of the Stanley Cup Finals last year.
It also is the lowest rating the game has ever had, equaling the 3.8 the game received in 2010 and 2008.
Compare that to the game’s all time high in 1993, 14.3.
We have been hearing about the demise of NASCAR because the Daytona 500, the most watched sporting event of the day, has half the rating it did less than a decade ago.
But we’re supposed to just ignore the fact the NBA All-Star Game draws a quarter of what it did a quarter-century ago? Or explain it away with a variety of excuses.
“It was on cable instead of network.” It was also on prime time and on two prominent cable channels, TBS and TNT.
“All-Star Games don’t mean as much anymore.” True, interleague play in baseball has eliminated the appeal of the All-Star Game in that sport, and since Baseball’s All-Star Game was essentially the model for all other sports to follow, there has been a trickle-down effect.
But the Home Run Derby last year still drew higher ratings than the dunk contest. And baseball’s All-Star Game drew a 5.5 rating, a much higher number than basketball’s. And frankly it’s taken 36 years for the All-Star Game to lose 3/4 of its rating, while it took the NBA 10 fewer years.
There isn’t a “Boycott the NBA” movement, but the NBA may do a good job of making sure people boycott it themselves.
It is unabashedly outspoken, but only on one side of the political coin.
Republicans buy sneakers, too? They also are potential basketball viewers. But it’s hard to lure them in when LeBron James and Gregg Popovich are just as apt to criticize Donald Trump as they are anything else when given a forum.
Commissioner Adam Silver has said he wants his players to be outspoken on politics, believing they can effect change and allow the NBA to have real influence in the world beyond entertainment.
But should the NBA be strive to be a vehicle for left-wing political causes?
Where is the championing of, say, abolishing street gangs? Or demonization of drug dealers? Or the championing of conservative causes such as adopting children instead of aborting them?
“Sports and politics shouldn’t mix?” Actually they always have. Branch Rickey didn’t feel that way when he signed Jackie Robinson.
But when the politics of a sport are so one-sided, as they are in the NBA, one must feel that half the country is going to be turned off.
Boycott the NFL? It’s a movement that is dying.
But with ratings down 22 percent on TNT this season, it appears many in the country have boycotted the NBA.
The lack of attention? Call it the bias of the sports media, liberal or otherwise.
After all, if you were ESPN, with an investment of $800 million more than the NFL lasting four more years, would you want to advertise your cash cow is in decline?
Marky Billson hosts a sports talk show weekdays 12–2 p.m. ET from the Tri-Cities, TN market that can be seen here live or archived.