Don't Believe the Hype About the NBA Being in Trouble Because of Low Ratings: TRAINA THOUGHTS

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1. Here's the thing about television ratings: They can be spun to fit any narrative you want.

The NBA's ratings, before coronavirus shut down the league in March, were down from last season. And ratings for the seeding games were down even further.

So obviously, you can read those two sentences and make the claim that the NBA is having a viewership problem and leave it at that and offer no context.

I would like to add some context, on a narrow scale and on a broad scale.

When ratings are down for any sport, it's not because of one reason. There are always multiple things at play. One big problem for the NBA with the bubble games is that many of them took place in the afternoon, when most people work. For Monday's slate of playoff games, ratings were up for the prime-time game.

As Sports Business Journal's Austin Karp points out, most games from the bubble that aired nationally were also shown in local markets.

Another obvious factor is simply that there is also a pandemic going on, and people's viewing habits are not what they typically would be. There's also this.

On a larger scale, people should not be surprised when ratings for any sport go down. People should be surprised when ratings go up. Why? Because people are cutting the cord at a rapid rate. 

I'm no mathematician, but it would only make sense, based on these numbers of total pay TV households in the country, that ratings for almost anything on television would drop over the years. 

2013: 100.5 million
2014: 100.5 million
2015: 99.6 million
2016: 97.7 million
2017: 94:3 million
2018: 90.3 million
2019: 86.5 million
2020: 82.9 million

As for the impact of the lower ratings, I wouldn't start a GoFundMe for any NBA owners just yet. The league has done just fine for itself over the years when it comes to total revenue.

2011-12: $3.68 billion
2012-13: $4.56 billion
2013-14: $4.79 billion
2014-15: $5.18 billion
2015-16: $5.87 billion
2016-17: $7.37 billion
2017-18: $8.01 billion
2018-19: $8.76 billion

We live in a time when it's nothing but absolutes. If the NBA ratings are down, the league is in dire straits. If the NBA ratings are down, it's because of one thing and one thing only. If the NBA ratings are down, it becomes, "nobody is watching the NBA."

The truth, which I know people hate these days, is that the NBA ratings are down for a variety of reasons AND the league is still healthy.

2. Charles Barkley called Skip Bayless a "punk ass" during Inside the NBA on Tuesday night and then wanted to make sure America heard him call Bayless a "punk ass."

3. JJ Redick didn't seem to be a fan of the Brian Anderson–Chris Webber crew that called Tuesday night's Blazers-Lakers game.

4. Thanks to Hard Knocks, we now know Rams QB Jared Goff set up a mini-golf course in his backyard.

5. The latest SI Media Podcast features a very fun conversation with Good Morning Football's Kyle Brandt. Topics covered include Kyle's time on the Real World: Chicago and meeting Real World legend Puck, Kyle's controversial tweet from a couple of weeks ago, the one thing he's had enough of while filming GMFB from home each morning, best side characters on The Office, Hard Knocks, my Hot Clicks days and more.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play.

6. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: One of my top go-to videos I watch periodically when I need a laugh.

7. SPORTS VIDEO OF THE DAY: The uproar over baseball's unwritten rules would be a little easier to take if we at least got treated to more brawls like this one.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.