The NBA followed in the NFL’s footsteps and allowed the anti-American anthem protests.
The move turned out to be a disaster for the league.
Now the NBA is resorting to one desperate move after the obnoxious protests.
During the summer riots of 2020, the NBA leaned into far-left activism.
The playoffs literally shut down for a couple of days after the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play in protest of the police shooting of suspected rapist Jacob Blake.
The NBA’s “bubble” playoffs were also characterized by “woke” slogans plastered all over the courts and players’ jerseys.
Fans were not interested in watching players with meaningless phrases like “say their names” and “group economics” stitched on the backs of their jerseys.
When the NBA arenas reopened, the fans did not come back in similar numbers.
That’s why the league hiked up its prices.
From The New York Post:
“NBA owners are raking in more cash than before the pandemic by charging higher ticket prices — despite lower TV ratings and increasingly empty seats at arenas, according to internal NBA data exclusively obtained by The Post. The average ‘gate’ per team, or dollars from ticket sales, rose 10.2% compared to the last pre-pandemic season (2018-19) with fans now paying an average of $109 per ticket, according to data from this past season. That’s an 18.6% increase since 2018-19 and is roughly double the rate of inflation. However, the number of paid fans at arenas plummeted 7.1% to 13,603 per game, the exclusive data also shows. The Post calculated average ticket prices by dividing gate receipts by paid attendance.”
COVID certainly did not help, but the in-your-face politicization of the league did not do it any favors.
In fact, NBA writer Ethan Strauss noted that the league had quietly begun backing off of the wokeness because it was business poison; he called it the “Apolitical NBA Renaissance.”
How the NBA handled politics post-2020 https://t.co/3swUfSOOXI
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) April 27, 2022
The drop in attendance could make it more difficult for the league to negotiate its upcoming TV licensing deal.
The Post added:
“The troubling trend could pose problems for the NBA as it begins negotiations for its next lucrative TV contract, with the current $2.66 billion annual deal with ABC/ESPN and Turner Sports set to expire at the end of the 2024-25 season. The league generates roughly 70% of its revenue through media rights and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is reportedly seeking a new, nine-year deal that will pay $8 billion a year. National TV ratings were slightly lower this season than in 2018-19.”
One source who advises NBA teams told The Post, “I’d be wondering if this is a canary in a coal mine…If I were Silver, I would be on the teams with the biggest attendance drops telling them it was unacceptable.”
The NBA needs to regain the trust of fans who walked away in the face of consistent political posturing.
It also doesn’t help that so many star players take games off for “load management” in this era.
Michael Jordan once said that he wanted to play 82 games because every game could be the one where a fan paid hard-earned money to come see him play and compete.
That type of pride and fan appreciation is rare in today’s league.