There is a possibility that this might happen. Right now, things look grim. People are trying to remain hopeful. This is not a doom piece, but I usually go about expecting the worst out of everything. That’s life because when things go right, there is nothing to complain about. With that in mind, let’s pretend that the season is done. It’s over. Now what? The last lockout back in 1998 had the NBA miss 32 games. The league lost a lot of fans.
Think back to 1998. The lockout caused many fans to drift towards the NFL. Michael Jordan retired once the lockout ended. The Chicago Bulls dynasty broke up. More fans left because of that, too. This effect immediately showed in the television ratings.
And that was only missing 32 games.
Now imagine an entire season eliminated like Charles Barkley has been quoted recently. The NBA is fucked. Major League Baseball barely had a chance to regain the luster they once had before their work stoppage until Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa had their homerun chase. Currently, the National Hockey League regained some ground because of Sidney Crosby and “stat whore” Alexander Ovechkin. NBC’s “Hockey Day in America” and the Winter Classic helped in boosting their visibility.
We do not know what is going to happen after the lockout for The National Football League. The only thing certain is “business as usual.” The NFL is in better shape than the NBA because the entire league is competitive and has an equal shot at getting to the Super Bowl.
The NBA has not recovered from the 1998 lockout compared to what it was in the 1980s and 1990s. Kobe’s Lakers against Paul Pierce’s Boston Celtics in the two Finals matchups and Miami Heat’s hatred provided a huge boost, but still not near the level of the 1990s in terms of ratings.
Keep that in mind.
Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, which was Lakers and Celtics, peaked at 28.2 million viewers. That equates to a 15.6 rating. Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, which was Bulls and Jazz, drew in 72 million viewers. That equates to a 22.3 rating. Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals, which was Mavericks and Heat, drew in a 15.0 rating. That’s about 21 million viewers. The current crop of games still does not manage to draw the attention the league used to get under the MJ era. The gap is that massive.
The momentum the league has built up will disappear if the next season is lost.
Not only that, but we lost a player’s year whether they are developing or in their prime. We would lose a year to this: Dallas Mavericks potential repeat, Wade and LeBron’s continuing battle, Kobe Bryant’s highlights, Durant’s scoring genius, Derrick Rose’s progression, and Jimmer’s battle to be better than JJ Redick.
Losing an NBA season is almost like a death blow. This is two lockouts in 12 years. The player’s union probably has to figure out a way to get rid of Billy Hunter. What’s the deal? Every time the collective bargaining agreement is nearing its’ end, another lockout has to happen?