NBA Commish: League Ratings Fell After LeBron James Moved West

LeBron James
Getty Images/Sean M. Haffey

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently said that TV ratings for Midwest and East Coast games have slumped since LeBron James headed west to play for the L.A. Lakers.

Appearing on NBC’s Today show on Tuesday, Silver admitted that TV ratings are down for the NBA, according to NBC Sports.

“Face it, LeBron is one of the biggest stars in the world, and he also played in the East,” Silver said of the better ratings in the past.

Silver added, “a lot of our games are in the West, and it’s late at night. And I recognize most people choose to go to sleep at a reasonable time. And so, from a rating standpoint, not having LeBron in the playoffs, not having him in the East, has clearly impacted ratings.”

The NBA boss noted that people in the east simply give up on the games if they don’t end before 11:30 PM Eastern.

“Fifty percent of television households in this country are in the Eastern time zone,” Silver said.

Silver continued:

And so if your West Coast games start at 10:30 at night in the East, you’re invariably going to lose a lot of viewers around 11, 11:30. I mean, you can just chart it. You see how many television households turn off around 11:15, 11:30 at night, just because people have to get up for work in the morning.”

I mean, it is something we can address. We’re talking about it. I mean, it would obviously be less convenient to those fans on the West Coast if we played even earlier. I mean, just think about people getting to those arenas after work if you start a game at 6 p.m. local time in the West. It’s not the most convenient thing. It’s not as convenient for a television watcher on the West coast, either. But when you look at the league from a national standpoint, it may make sense to play a little bit earlier in the West.

Silver concluded by reporting that the league intended to talk to the teams to try and address this scheduling problem.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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