Adam Silver Says LeBron Not Playing In the East Has Hurt NBA TV Ratings.
The NBA’s ratings are down as far as TV viewership is concerned. We can attribute that to LeBron James’ decision to leave the East and take his talents to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the Lakers didn’t make the playoffs this year even with King James at their disposal. To give you some perspective. The last time LeBron James didn’t make the playoffs was in 2005. According to Sports Media Watch, regular season games on ESPN and ABC averaged roughly the same numbers as last year, but TNT averages were down 12% from last season.
On a recent appearance on The Today Show, NBA commissioner Adam Silver discussed the tv rating decline, and stated: “not having LeBron in the playoffs, not having him in the East, has clearly impacted ratings.”
Silver explains (H/T Yahoo Sports):
Face it, LeBron is one of the biggest stars in the world, and he also played in the East.
And so, the reason I look a little bit tired is a lot of our games are in the West, and it’s late at night. I recognize most people choose to go to sleep at a reasonable time. And so, from a rating standpoint, not having LeBron in the playoffs, not having him in the East, has clearly impacted ratings.
Furthermore, Silver has also considered moving up the time slots for West coast games. 50% of television households in the country are in Eastern time zones. Earlier Westcoast games times would work well for those on the East coast who find themselves struggling to stay up past half-time. Although, this change would put a lot of West Coasters at an inconvenience.
Fifty percent of television households in this country are in the Eastern time zone. And so if your West Coast games start at 10:30 at night in the East, you’re invariably going to lose a lot of viewers around 11, 11:30. I mean, you can just chart it. You see how many television households turn off around 11:15, 11:30 at night, just because people have to get up for work in the morning.
I mean, it is something we can address. We’re talking about it. I mean, it would obviously be less convenient to those fans on the West Coast if we played even earlier. I mean, just think about people getting to those arenas after work if you start a game at 6 p.m. local time in the West. It’s not the most convenient thing. It’s not as convenient for a television watcher on the West coast, either. But when you look at the league from a national standpoint, it may make sense to play a little bit earlier in the West. And that’s something we’re going to talk to our teams about this summer.
You can listen to the full interview where the NBA Commissioner talks about these topics in the video below. Lastly, for more sports news and good reads, check out our 2019 NBA Free Agent Wish List.