• Conor Peterson

NBA's TV Ratings Lowest Since 2012; Short Season To Blame?

Has The Shortened NBA Season Caused TV Ratings To Tank?


Why A Short Season?


The NBA usually plays its 82 game season in 175 days. The league is playing this 72 game season in 145 days. This shortened compact season is due to a number of reasons. Playing 72 games stems from the minimum number of games needed to get the full amount of revenue from the TV deal. The season has to be played in this short window, with the bubble teams getting about a month long “off-season,” in order to finish the playoffs before the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics begins.


NBA Stars Going Down


Many players, including LeBron, were complaining about the Christmas Day start. Could this condensed season be the reason we’re seeing so many of the league’s stars go down with injuries? LeBron and Anthony Davis have both missed multiple months with their injuries. In his return against the Mavs, AD left the game with a sprained ankle. Joel Embiid has missed about a quarter of the season. Ben Simmons has also missed time for the 6ers. Giannis, Middleton and Jrue Holiday have missed time for the Bucks.


The Nets have only had their Big 3 play 7 games together due to a various number of injuries. Kyle Lowry of the Raptors, Myles Turner of the Pacers & Kemba Walker of the Celtics have all missed significant time. Dame Lillard, CJ McCcollum and Nurkic have been out for stretches for the Blazers. Jamal Murray is out for the season for the Nuggets & Donovan Mitchell is down for a week for the league leading Jazz. And so on and so forth.


The Impact


All of these players mentioned are starters and crucial members of perennial playoff teams in each conference. Also, many players have missed time due to COVID protocols. Even though we’re seeing the most historic offensive season in the league’s history, the injuries might be the reason the NBA is also seeing the lowest TV ratings since the 2012 season. One would think TV ratings would be higher since more fans are watching games from home, with fan capacities at fractions of stadium capacities. I’m not saying injuries are the only reason ratings have dropped, but stars being on the bench in suits does not bring more eyes to the TV screens. This shortened season has definitely added to the increase in injuries this season. Players have less time to rehab and rest in between games, & for bubble teams this came directly after a short off-season.


Travel also isn’t kind to their bodies. I just think of how my body feels after getting off a plane. I feel like I have a more limited blood flow through my body, and I’m not attempting to recover from playing 30+ minutes in back-to-back NBA games. COVID protocols in this shortened season have limited the players’ ability to receive their normal amounts of treatment they would typically receive on a day-to-day basis. Several players, most recently Jrue Holiday on a podcast that will not be named since we don’t give out free press, have been adamant about their issues regarding this season.


Players and fans both hope we don’t have another season like this. I’m just glad we’re having a season at all.


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