Clay Travis: “Almost more people watched a documentary about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the 1990’s than watched the NBA Finals with LeBron James and the Lakers against the Heat in 2020. People liked the Jordan-era Bulls so much more than they liked LeBron that they were more interesting in watching a documentary on ESPN about a team that was playing 20+ years ago, than they were than actually watching LeBron James and the Lakers play against the Heat real-time on ABC. A lot of people out there tried to defend the NBA and say ‘well, this is just a different season…’ and then the numbers came out for Gonzaga vs. Baylor. I was blown away by the ratings. Just about 17 million people watched Gonzaga vs. Baylor, two private schools that most sports fans don’t really have strong rooting interest for – it’s not like it was Duke vs. Kentucky or UNC vs. Kansas – and the game wasn’t remotely close, and yet that many people actually watched the NCAA title game. Ten million more people in this country watched a college basketball national title game than watched any of the six NBA Finals games. People love basketball and crave, but the NBA, instead of giving them a reason to love it and embracing the Jordan-era, they are actually turning basketball fans away with all of their woke politics and their lecturing, and those same fans are so desperate for basketball that they are watching the NCAA Tournament, even between two schools that doesn’t provoke a lot of strong reaction… Thirty-seven million people watched Game 6 of the Chicago Bulls vs. Jazz NBA Finals in 1998, the most people to ever watch any basketball game in the history of the United States of America. Seven million people watched LeBron James and the Lakers play against the Heat in Game 6 of 2020. That’s a decline of 30 million people in viewership at the same time that the United States population has increased by 50 million people… The NBA is slicing and dicing its audience to such a significant factor that even with 50 million more people who could be consuming their product, they have actually ended up with 30 million fewer people actually watching. College basketball has not seen that same collapse. People will say ‘well, a lot less people watch television!’ any time you say leagues are struggling. The NBA Finals are available on ABC, it’s free. There aren’t a lot less people watching the NFL now than were watching the NFL in 1998, in fact, the number of viewers of NFL games has gone up substantially since 1998. A lot of woke idiots try to argue that the NBA is more popular than the NFL, which is a record-scratch, dumbest argument of all time moment. The NBA was far closer to catching the NFL in 1998 than it is in 2020 or 2021. Why is the NFL and college basketball dunking on the NBA? Because Michael Jordan sold an era that EVERYBODY is included… The players in the 90’s were selling the idea as entertainers that they wanted you to come watch them play basketball, and all of the stars did their best to put on the best possible show… The NBA is now telling a huge percentage of its fan base ‘WE DON’T WANT YOU’, which is the worst thing any business could ever do. The league has peaked, it’s on a major downward trajectory, and they need to recalibrate their entire business model, and do it fast while that business still exists.” (Full Segment Above)
Listen to Clay Travis discuss his reaction to the results of the college basketball national championship ratings between Baylor and Gonzaga coming out that completely dwarfed the viewership of the NBA Finals with LeBron James, as Clay thinks the incessant lecturing of ‘woke’ politics during NBA broadcasts has turned off a large portion of the league's fan base.
Check out the video above as Clay details why he thinks the NBA’s business model has started to severely crack and its disillusioned fan base couldn’t be making it any more apparent.