Why NBA TV ratings are down

YoY change in NBA ratings by network according to Sports Business Journal:
TNT – ↓ 22%
ESPN – ↓ 19%
Regional Sports Networks (RSN) – ↓ 7%

Average viewers/game (YoY growth):
1) 2018-19 – 1.75M
2019-20 – 1.45M (↓ 17%)

Quote from Adam Silver – Commissioner @ NBA:
 “Especially for the NBA, which is primarily a cable-satellite sport, that system is broken to a certain extent… It’s not just in terms of the loss of homes, but our young viewers, in particular, are tuning out cable, traditional cable.”

The big question: Would the NBA fare better on broadcast TV?  Mak Cuban seems to think so.

Teams w/ the most nationally televised games in 2019-20:
1) Los Angeles Lakers – 43
2) Golden State Warriors – 42
3) Los Angeles Clippers – 26

NBA TV rights fees/year (% change) by deal according to Sports Business Journal:
2002-08 – $767M
2008-16 – $930M (↑ 62%)
3) 2016-25 – $2.6B (↑ 215%)

The big big picture: The NBA’s future is in China.

Key details for the NBA in China:
1) 490M 
people in China watched NBA content on Tencent last year
2) 21M people in China watched part of Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals on Tencent
3) 18M people (average minute audience) watched Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals in the U.S.

More #1: NBA ratings are in a steep decline: Sorting through some popular myths — and looking for a solution

More #2: NBA TV Now Available as Direct Streaming Service, No Cable or Satellite TV Required 

More #3: NBA Sets Earlier Start Times for TV Doubleheaders


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