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August 21, 2020

NBA Ratings Down 45%, Despite Many Still Being Locked Up Inside Their Homes

Aw, that's too bad.

A year and a half ago, while the sports media gushed over the NBA, I pointed out that the league’s ratings were troubling. They've continued to worsen, highlighted by last season’s double-digit Finals decline.

This week, the most troubling stat yet was publicized. The Athletic's Ethan Strauss pointed out, since 2011-12, the NBA on ABC is down 45%. Nearly half.

ABC is the NBA’s premium partner. Nearly every broadcast, it showcases top matchups and players. Yet, viewers are tuning out an alarming rate.

"In that hastily promoted lockout season, [2011-12], ABC games drew 5.42 million viewers on average," Strauss writes. "The final tally on this latest 2019-20 season was 2.95 million average viewers on ABC games. Every ABC game from 2011-2012 received higher viewership than 2.95 million, save for a meaningless late season 1 p.m. Thunder-Bulls game that Derrick Rose sat out."

A decline of this magnitude is astounding. There is no explanation other than the interest in watching the NBA on television is rapidly diminishing.

Allow a nobody from Yahoo "News" to disagree!

A woman (I assume) sportswriter for Yahoo says this is no big deal, low ratings are just terrific.

This article is a classic of the genre, "It's actually true but it's false because Trump says it." This AWFL woman, who probably doesn't watch sports, admits that sports ratings, particularly for the NBA, are way down...

But then she says, without evidence, that a decline in interest in sports does not prove a decline in interest in sports.

Oh? Do tell, low-paid bottom-feeding garbage-tier-media drudge.

The return of live sports was supposed to usher in an explosion of interest. Americans were going to hunker down in front of their TVs and watch in record numbers because, well, there’s not much else to do during a pandemic and everyone has missed their favorite distraction.

But that didn't quite happen. In fact, a cursory glance at TV ratings and headlines about viewership suggests the overall interest in sports may even be down.

The NBA’s ratings were already down a bit from last year, and they dipped again when sports started back up after the COVID-19 suspension. NASCAR started red-hot as one of first major American sports back on network television during the pandemic, but then dropped to below-average ratings. And MLS, which didn't have high expectations to begin with, still managed to underperform.

Are people put off by the awkward lack of crowds? Are they too focused on the pandemic and the upcoming presidential election? Do they not consider bubble tournaments "real" competitions?

All those things may be true. But TV ratings don't actually show that people have suddenly become less interested in sports.

Of course not, Dear. Spinal Tap's appeal has merely grown more selctive.

A closer look shows that viewing habits are changing during the pandemic, but sports are as popular as ever. And as much as conservative pundits and even President Donald Trump have tried to turn the NBA into their latest political wedge, the NBA has little reason to worry.

See that part at the end? Where she tells you "Ignore the facts, I'm about to give you perspective that contradicts them"?

It's entirely an empty promise. She quotes someone saying something vague about viewing habits changing during the lockdown -- indeed, people's viewing habits have changed, in the sense that they've stopped watching the NBA -- but never delivers on why the NBA shouldn't worry about losing 45%!! of its viewers.

It's almost as if she's just a know-nothing blogger armed with some Intersectional Feminist Theory and some Orange Man Bad dogma and she knows that her job is just to provide the laziest, shallowest gainsaying of anything Trump says, and that Yahoo will not demand she actually supply evidence for her claims.

In other words: It's a standard media "fact-check." There are no facts supplied to back up the claim that Orange Man False, but that's okay, the naked assertion of it will do. Everyone knows that's the Right Answer you're supposed to get to, no matter how you get to it.

You really should read this. It's an amazing exercise in wheel-spinning, as if she's an undergraduate freshman struggling to hit that Minimum Word Count.

Here's as close as she gets to proving ratings don't actually measure ratings:

To use ratings to determine if people are watching sports, it’s important to understand what TV ratings actually measure.

Contrary to what people assume, they are not just the number of people who watched something on TV. Instead, TV ratings are a calculated average derived from the number who watched and how long they watched for.

In other words, if an NBA game reached the same number of people, but everyone watched a few minutes less because there is also baseball, hockey and soccer on TV, the NBA's ratings will go down.

In other words... people are not watching the NBA to watch something else.

This, she claims, proves that Trump is wrong when he says that people aren't watching the NBA.



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posted by Ace at 03:55 PM

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