The NBA is in a very good place right now and the numbers back it up.
According to a piece from Michael Singer of USA Today, NBA national broadcast ratings are up 32% this season and are at their highest point since 2010-11, the season after the “The Decision”.
“Between ESPN, TNT and NBA TV, the league’s viewership is up 32% this season and averaging 1.4 million viewers according to Nielsen, the highest start to the season since the 2010-2011 campaign. That was also LeBron James’ first year in Miami.
Last week’s Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game was ESPN’s most watched regular season game (3.2 million) since Christmas of 2016. TNT’s opening night broadcast between the Cleveland Cavs and Boston Celtics, while ultimately marred by Gordon Hayward’s injury, was still the second-most watched season-opening telecast in the network’s history with an average of 5.6 million viewers.”
While there are fears throughout the television and media industry about cord cutting and how consumers moving away from traditional means to consume content will affect ratings and business, the NBA has embraced new media and streaming and appears to be getting rewarded for it.
This is in stark contrast to the NFL’s lagging ratings this season (which some think are a result of the protests, but the reality is more the result of cord cutting and a down season), and gives more proof of the slow and gradual shift in popularity from the NFL to the NBA.
The NBA is filled to the brim with marketable stars (they do the best job of marketing their players as well) from the generation in it’s prime like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Chris Paul, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, etc. and a new crop of young superstars that have peaked the interest of fans such as Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokoumpo, Kristaps Porzingis and others.
It is a great time to be a fan of the game of basketball as the game has never been on a higher level in terms of entertainment value and star power.