Basketball has been on the rise in so many ways. Whether we are watching it on the court, following storylines on talk shows, or reacting to news breaking on Twitter, the NBA has taken over the NFL as the most talked about sport here in the United States.
The branding that the NBA has implemented over the past few years has been player-driven. We see it with the latest on-court shoes worn by Kyrie Irving, Paul George, James Harden and others. Even on social media, many players are deemed to be a “must follow.” Memes and “sneak dissing” put out by players are now just as captivating as the “Woj bombs” put out by ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski whenever any type of news breaks in the league.
The biggest showcase of these “Woj bombs” occured during the buildup towards the league’s trade deadline, which also happened to be the same week leading up to the Super Bowl. The league was pumping out a ton of storylines about Anthony Davis, center for the New Orleans Pelicans, potentially getting traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
All media outlets had pushed any coverage about the Super Bowl to a second segment or didn’t talk about it all. Player reaction from those around the league also turned into huge developments on Twitter, with fans chiming into what might happen. Even Los Angeles fans, who had their own team playing in the biggest game in football, seemed to put Lakers trade talks in the foreground.
To be fair, the Super Bowl did not help the NFL’s cause given that it turned out to be the lowest scoring game ever. And once the conference championship games are finished and we have a matchup for the Lombardi trophy, we are typically burned out with football as a country. The NBA has that fresh aspect that we do not get from the NFL, where we discuss more about player movement or in-game situations compared to owners clinging to the spotlight or if the refs got a call wrong.
Viewership for the NBA has also been on the rise but more importantly, the average viewer’s age (42) is eight years younger than that of the NFL (50), according to Sports Business Journal. That shows that basketball as a sport is thriving more in this country compared to the three major leagues. Having a younger viewership means that NBA has more opportunities to market to viewers and means that the longevity of the viewership will keep the sport relevant worldwide for years to come.
The NFL does have off-the-field news, yet it is tending to be controversial almost all the time. Along with the ongoing blackballing of Colin Kaepernick, many are starting to actually tune out football as a whole.
In baseball, two of their biggest stars, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, remain without a team. The MLB lacks player marketing for the rest of their top stars that it desperately needs in order to find a younger, more diverse audience.
The NBA right now doesn’t seem to disappoint any type of fan, whether they are watching their favorite star player on the court or watching their Twitter timeline. It puts the sport of basketball in a better spot than ever before, even with the Warriors on the cusp of their third straight title.