The NBA and MLB might have to rethink their decisions to go political.
Both leagues have now made a return to television, and viewership has been underwhelming.
We Americans have been without our sports for too long. One would have thus expected to see record-breaking television viewership with the MLB and NBA restarts.
And, at first, things were going pretty good.
According to Outkick, the NBA’s two opening night games – the Lakers versus the Clippers and the Pelicans versus the Jazz – saw 3.4 million and 2.1 million viewers, respectively. The MLB, similarly, managed 4.0 million viewers for the Yankees-Nationals game and 2.8 million for the Dodgers-Giants.
From there, however, things quickly went downhill.
On night 2, 1.3 million viewers tuned in for the NBA’s Celtics versus Bucks and 1.7 million for the Mavs versus Rockets. Baseball saw an even bigger dropoff, with 922 thousand watching the Mets and Braves, 1.0 million watching the Brewers and Cubs, and 797 thousand tuning into the Angels and Astros.
What’s going on?
Admittedly, we can only speculate about these numbers. We don’t know why exactly people are or are not tuning into these leagues. But, we can take a pretty good guess.
Both leagues have decided to go political by publicly supporting Black Lives Matter, the group that, following the death of George Floyd, has been “protesting” systemic racism, calling among other things for police departments to be defunded. Players, coaches, and league management have been pushing Black Lives Matters down our throats, and, based on the ratings, it appears that fans don’t like it.
Perhaps, on night one of the NBA and MLB, fans tuned in to see how the new politicized sporting world was going to look. Then, not liking what they saw, they decided not to tune in again. It’s anyone’s guess, and we’ll likely get a better idea as both seasons progress.
It’s just too bad that both leagues have gone political. Americans can use some good entertainment in this politically divisive, coronavirus world that we are now living in. Maybe the NBA and MLB will realize their mistake and fix it, but that’s probably wishful thinking.