NBA’s Ratings Crash Ahead of Christmas Showcase

Getty Images_Patrick Smith(2)
Getty Images/Patrick Smith

TV ratings for the National Basketball Association are taking a tumble as we approach Christmas week, even as the sports media tries to explain it all away.

Pro basketball viewership on ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV is down double digits as of December 6th. with a dip of at least 14 percent over last season, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The paper notes that the sports media seem to have all sorts of reasons why the numbers are so bad this season. From injuries, to cable customers canceling service, to some NBA games airing opposite football, the experts are pontificating on the drop in viewers.

Horizon Media analyst Wes Moore, for one, told the Reporter that the league has been beset with injuries keeping several top players on the sidelines and causing viewers interest to wane as second-string players hit the hardwood.

It appears that TV audiences have also been choosing NFL games over the NBA this month, the paper reports.

NBA analyst Charles Barkley added that he thinks the NBA is making a mistake with “load management” for top players.

“I’m never going to agree on load management. It always worked when the greatest players who ever played the game played as much as possible, and they had bad shoes and didn’t have the best doctors in the world like they do today,” Barkley told FOX Sports Radio. “These guys don’t have any loyalty to a team or a city and it’s why ratings are down.”

Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban also noted that ratings are down because so many games are airing on cable and cable is losing customers by the thousands every month as they cut the cable and begin patronizing streaming services.

“Ratings are down because all of our national broadcasts are exclusively available on cable, which is losing subs daily,” Cuban tweeted last month. “Football benefits from being on broadcast tv which is in every digital and traditional package along with gambling available in some of the biggest markets.”

The NBA will be broadcasting five games on Christmas Day on both ABC and ESPN, including Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers, and New Orleans Pelicans vs. Denver Nuggets.

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