NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the decision on ESPN’s NBA Countdown on Tuesday evening prior to Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Heat. He acknowledged the affirmations of their Black Lives Matter initiatives but recognized also the need to refocus on the action.
”My sense is there’ll be somewhat a return to normalcy, that those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor, and I understand those people who are saying ‘I’m on your side, but I want to watch a basketball game.”’
Silver’s remarks came on the heels of reports that this year’s Last Dance drew the lowest TV ratings in the history of the NBA Finals. The first three games only averaged a 3.6 rating and 6.65 million viewers. In comparison, last year’s matchup between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors had an average rating of 8.8 and more than 15 million viewers.
The league apparently figured out it’s a business after all. The reality is the majority of sports fans (NBA) are white dudes 18 to 45. Maybe calling the majority of your customer base a bunch of racists is not the best marketing move.
The NBA supported the Black Lives Matter movement and other related causes following the furor over the death of George Floyd, which led to riots across the nation. Superstars like LeBron James, Chris Paul, Donovan Mitchell, and Jaylen Brown became more vocal, using social justice as a collective battle-cry.
Reality: sports fans only care about the integrity of the game. Once you lose that, they turn you off. Sports is where they go to escape this non-sense.