The NBA began its 2020-2021 season trying to move past all the anti-Trump protests of this past summer’s restart.
Commissioner Adam Silver claimed the NBA was leaving the protests and in your face support for Black Lives Matter behind.
And LeBron James got some bad news that every Trump supporter wanted to hear.
The NBA saw its ratings tumble after Black Lives Matter protesters took over the sport.
In the NBA Finals, the league saw the lowest viewing audience in history for the matchup between LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat.
So when the NBA kicked off Christmas week, the league put out misleading stats about how opening week 2020 saw a significant ratings boost from 2019.
“NBA viewers watched 81.5 million hours of live games on ABC, ESPN, and TNT in the opening week of the season, up 95% from opening week in 2019,” the Associated Press reported.
But that is not telling the full story, as the opening week of the 2019 season was in October and this year’s first week was boosted by the league’s Christmas Day showcase where the league schedules five marquee games including network primetime matchups.
Outkick.com ran a year-over-year comparison and found that ratings for Christmas week 2020 were down significantly from the same period in 2019.
Outkick reported, “The average viewership of the five games is down 16.5 percent from last year and 25.3 percent from two years ago. The marquee primetime game, Mavs-Lakers, was down 20.1 percent from last year and a whopping 32 percent from 2018, a game which featured LeBron and the Lakers versus the not-yet-depleted Warriors. Prior to 2018, the marquee Christmas Day NBA game was in the 5:00 pm ET window, rather than at night. This season’s marquee game had the lowest viewership since 2007, according to the historical ratings chart from Sports Media Watch.”
The NBA inflicted lasting damage on its brand by allowing LeBron James and other anti-Trump protestors to run wild last summer and turn the games into a massive Black Lives Matter rally.
Fans know the league can take “Black Lives Matter” off the court but it cannot change the fact that last summer the NBA declared itself hostile to half the country.
Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.