NBA TV Ratings Tumble

The NBA had a disappointing year with less viewers tuning into games in 2016-17 than 2015-16.



The NBA has the same problem as the NFL. Fewer people watched the product in 2016-17  than they did in 2015-16. It is not clear what exactly caused the ratings decline. Cord cutter, those who gave up cable and satellite TV probably are to blame.

Bad business decisions have resulted in the NFL’s TV numbers plunging and it has much to do with the owners’ total disregard for their fans in virtually every city in the league. It is something that Commissioner Pete Rozelle began to wonder about in the early 1980s. Luxury boxes, Pete said, were the bane of his existence. But in Rozelle’s world between 1960 and 1987 as NFL commissioner very few stadiums had luxury boxes and many football teams were playing in baseball stadiums with some bad seats in those buildings.

The NFL has witnessed a lot of franchise shifts since 1984. Owners finding new buildings with lots of revenue producing gadgets. The owners kicked out loyal blue collar fans and replaced them with customers with ability to spend money. That’s why San Diego and Oakland lost NFL franchises in their cities soon. San Diego and Oakland, though both facilities in those cities received massive upgrades, offer local owners unwanted multi-purpose stadiums that were built in the 1960s. The talk of Oakland and San Diego moving went on for years. The same thing happened in St. Louis when a 1990s-era football friendly stadium was deemed inadequate. The team left for Los Angeles last January. There is talk about some team moving to London, where the NFL thinks pounds are available. The word is Jacksonville could be that team. Greed is driving down the fan interest in the NFL. That does not appear to be the case in the NBA however.

Declining NBA TV ratings will eventually become an Adam Silver problem.