Declining viewership in the NBA


Devin Glauser

The NBA has been one of the major sports leagues since its beginning in 1946. Over the years, the number of fans have steadily increased and by 2017, the average viewership for the NBA Finals games was 20.5 million, which is the second most watched NBA Finals game in history. In 2018, the average viewership for a game was down to 17.6 million, the lowest in the last 5 years. There are speculations as to why this may be, but the most logical answer is just a decline in people watching sports.

Viewership across ESPN, TNT and NBA TV has been down 15% from 2018 to 2019. Based off this, it’s not just the games themselves, fans in general just aren’t watching sports on television as much as they used to. Despite this, most sports still have increasing viewership across the world, so why is the NBA losing viewership? Well, this can be answered in a few ways, and NBA experts have mixed opinions on why this may be happening.

One of the most prominent issues right now in the NBA are injuries. Since the beginning of the season, more than half of the games played have been played while a star player on the team is out with injury. The best example is the 2019 Golden State Warriors. This team was the biggest basketball dynasty since the 1990 Chicago Bulls, and even the Warriors beat the Bulls’ wins in a season record, going 73-9 in 2016. So far this season their record is 5-21, and the worst in their division. Even though the warriors lost a few players, they still have Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Their offense and defense are still elite, but with injuries for all 3, would come one of the worst starts in NBA history.With so many notable names injured, the league suffers with a decline in viewership. 

In conclusion, the league needs to find ways to make sure the young stars of the game aren’t getting injured, like playing less games in a season, make the season longer, or finding new trainers for the athletes, trainers that would make sure the players injuries are first priority and that would be trained in that way.