Is it Bye-Bye Football and Hello Basketball?

Posted: October 27, 2016 in AVC Men's Basketball, AVC Men's BB 2016-17, football, Professionals
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The experts say ever since Colin Kaepernick changed his priorities and decided to do his protest kneel during the national anthem instead of playing football.(San Francisco record 1-6) 14% of the football fans started their own protest…not watching the NFL games.  That is costing the NFL and the NFL players millions maybe ever billions in the long run.

According to the Wall Street Journal this may be the time that Basketball takes over the United States as it’s favorite game.  Can basketball teams and players play it smart and take advantage of the the millions of sports fans who have left football and now are looking for another sport to watch?  Here is what the experts at the Wall Street Journal says.

Add to that, now that the Lakers are undefeated this year, basketball could really grown rapidly in SoCal!  LOL


Can the NBA Catch the NFL?

As the new season begins, basketball’s cultural boom and pro football’s recent slump has some wondering whether this marks the beginning of a huge shift in the hierarchy of American sports.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and forward Kevin Durant celebrate after Curry made a 3-pointer during a preseason game earlier this month. 

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and forward Kevin Durant celebrate after Curry made a 3-pointer during a preseason game earlier this month. Photo: Reuters

By Ben Cohen, The Wall Street Journal

Oct. 24, 2016 4:09 p.m. ET

The NBA season begins this week with 28 teams plotting ways to disrupt the Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers showdown that already feels inevitable. But others around the league are quietly pondering something that may be more realistic: Is there a day when the NBA surpasses the NFL?

This idea isn’t as crazy as it sounds. The NBA has some of the biggest stars in sports. Their fans are young, diverse and tech savvy, in part because the league has let the game blossom online by treating highlights like amuse-bouches. There has been such an explosion of money in recent years that players and owners now find themselves on the brink of a collective-bargaining agreement that will ensure labor peace until LeBron James nears retirement.

The future of the NFL isn’t quite so clear. The most powerful American sports league has been plagued by critical issues over the last decade, from concerns about head injuries to decreases in youth participation. But not until recently did the NFL’s popularity actually suffer. This season the quality of play seems to have gotten worse. The television ratings have, too. It’s a swoon that strikes at the heart of the game.

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The result of basketball’s cultural boom and football’s undeniable erosion is a cautious optimism around the NBA that once would’ve been unthinkable. As this generation of fans grows up, they believe, basketball might be able to finally catch football as the country’s most popular sport.

“I 100% think that,” said Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. “There are really, really strong trends going the NBA’s way. As you map it forward, you say the NBA is going to be No. 1.”

No one knows whether this is a blip or the beginning of a huge shift in the hierarchy of American sports. The NFL declined to comment for this story, but the league points to the dominance of its TV programming and has said while it doesn’t think this season’s ratings dip is a long-term issue, it is looking at ways to make sure viewers tune in and stay tuned in.

Still, it’s remarkable in its own right that the NFL is on the radar of NBA decision-makers. Their league is still billions in revenue and millions in television viewers behind. Now, because of forces in both sports that have converged in recent years, the NBA can reasonably dream about a future in which basketball, not baseball or football, is the premier American sport.

“Basketball’s in a very, very, very good place,” said Stephen Curry, the NBA’s two-time reigning most valuable player. “Without having to expand the league or have teams in Europe or do all that kind of stuff, I think it’s possible for basketball to catch [football].”

It won’t happen overnight. It won’t even happen in Curry’s career. And the gap is so wide right now that some in the NBA are skeptical it will ever happen.

NBA revenue is projected to hit a record $8 billion this year, but the NFL expects $13 billion. The second most popular sport among U.S. adults is still baseball, not basketball, according to the latest Harris Poll. And the sports’ television ratings also don’t belong in the same ballpark—even with the NBA’s increase last season and the NFL’s decrease this season.

The league had its dream TV scenario last year: Game 7 of the Finals with Curry and James on the same court in Sunday night primetime. Cleveland winning its first title ever, spoiling Golden State’s record-breaking season, turned out to be the most viewed NBA game since 1998. But more Americans still watched the Cincinnati Bengals’ wild-card game.

Washington Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. defends Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James in the second half of a preseason game. 

Washington Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. defends Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James in the second half of a preseason game. Photo: Reuters

The reason that football still owns television is that the NFL perfected the entertainment formula. There is no sport with a better combination of scarcity and stakes. But critics of the NFL now say it has become oversaturated. There is too much terrible football on television—and primetime national ratings are down as a result.

To be sure, the NBA would be thrilled if the number of people who still watch NFL games was considered a problem. But the sudden football downturn sounds eerily similar to what Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban warned two years ago when he took direct aim at the NFL: “Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered. And they’re getting hoggy.”

The feeling around the NBA is that basketball now has an opportunity to move on the NFL. There is especially room for growth overseas. The international appeal of basketball is one reason that many in the NBA believe it has untapped revenue sources that can help close the gap on the NFL.

“It’s going to be the global sport,” Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé said.

It also helps that a happy coincidence is working in the NBA’s favor: The smartest way to play basketball happens to be exciting to watch. It doesn’t always work that way in sports. And this rare harmony may not last as the game evolves. But NBA coaches and general managers say that strategy, style and success are in extraordinary alignment.

Now they want basketball games to be like soccer’s—shorter and with fewer breaks. The league is relying on the replay booth to expedite the review time of plays this season. It’s also planning to experiment in the D-League this season with a rule that resets the shot clock to 14 seconds after an offensive rebound in an attempt to increase the flow of the game, according to a person familiar with the matter.

That’s not the only ambitious idea it’s kicking around. One proposal that was discussed by NBA executives, according to people familiar with the matter, was replacing a late-game timeout with an “advance” of the ball that wouldn’t stop play. A version of this rule is once again the basis of a D-League trial run this year.

The goal is to mimic the uninterrupted style of international basketball. The average game length in Rio de Janeiro was 1 hours and 45 minutes, according to USA Basketball, and basketball World Cup games with TV timeouts usually last 2 hours—which has long been the NBA’s magic number. The average NBA game in the last two seasons was 2 hours and 14 minutes.

“If they could ever get it to two hours,” said Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, “it would probably be better for everybody.”

Maybe not the television networks connected to the NBA. But the league has girded itself through 2025 with a lucrative TV deal that it renegotiated early to avoid an uncertain time in the media industry. All that money flooded the league’s free-agency period before this season and made the ongoing round of labor bargaining easier, NBA commissioner Adam Silver says, and those discussions are close to yielding an agreement that will stave off a work stoppage until at least 2021.

Now the NBA has time to figure out what comes next. And it could be a valuable opportunity to take on the NFL, which finds itself in a similar position.

“We both are facing an innovator’s dilemma,” Cuban wrote in an email. “We are dependent on traditional advertising and TV revenues while those industries are going through dramatic changes. Whichever company is most nimble in addressing those challenges will come out on top.”

—Jason Gay contributed to this article.

Write to Ben Cohen at ben.cohen@wsj.com

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