NEW YORK, New York – NBA’s TV ratings continue to decline as December comes. Analysts consider this to be one of the most alarming developments in the league’s broadcast history.
When audience figures were last gauged on November 22, NBA broadcasts averaged at around 1.45 million viewers, as opposed to 1.75 million exactly one year prior.
Several reasons for this viewership drop have been speculated. One of the most immediate explanations pointed to was the fact that this season is considered relatively unimportant, with Zion Williamson and Kevin Durant injured.
Additionally, a few analysts point to the NBA, letting audience focus shift from the games to semi-relevant off-court intrigue.
Of these, however, many prominent individuals within and surrounding the NBA, such as Mark Cuban, owner of the Mavericks, cite the continued decline of cable television as the culprit. National broadcasts of the NBA are exclusively available on cable programming, as opposed to football, which enjoys easily accessible broadcast programming.
To combat this deterioration of audience figures, the NBA has implemented two courses of action. The first is discussing the addition of a midseason tournament and a play-in tournament for the last two playoff spots in a conference, to revitalize audience interest.
The second is to eliminate alternate avenues from which people can view NBA content; this primarily involves cracking down on the usage of unlicensed videos on sites like YouTube.
The latter course of action would likely come in the form of the NBA taking a more active part in the monetization of their digital content, such as uploading NBA highlights themselves. In doing this, they would essentially be providing the service offered by independent YouTube creators at a higher quality.
In light of the recent developments, sports agency Two Circles predicts that the value of short highlight clips will outstrip live rights in terms of growth (76% growth as opposed to 19% growth), thereby giving an inkling as to the potency of digital content in providing the demands of the NBA’s audience.