Is NBA Headed For Imminent Demise?

David Ridderhoff, Contributor

The NBA is broken. Broken beyond repair. There’s nothing we can do, and we should probably just accept the imminent demise of basketball in a professional setting.

Well, this is a pretty broad statement, you say. How can you predict an entire sport will fall, especially one as revered as basketball? One word: parity. Does it exist in the NBA? Absolutely not, and that will come to ruin the sport.

Jerseys, TV ratings and even the quality of players on a team can vary greatly based on support from a fan base. As of right now, I’d say there are five great fan bases in the NBA: Miami, L.A. (whichever team they bandwagon-jump on), New York, San Antonio and OKC. When you think of some teams that historically have great fans, like Chicago and Boston, they are tired of not being able to get past Miami. Some new up-and-comers, like Memphis and Indiana, still can’t be considered great fan bases due to not really getting into games yet. So, let’s go point by point now, to prove how parity is ruining the league.

Jerseys are one of the biggest revenue-bringers to the NBA. When you look at the numbers, you can see those elite fan bases buy more jerseys. The top-three jerseys for the 2012-13 season belonged to Carmelo Anthony (New York), LeBron James (Miami) and Kevin Durant (OKC), and seven of the other jerseys on the top-15 belong to those elite five fan bases as well. From there, four more belong to Chicago and Boston, the dejected group falling out of love with their team. Only Cleveland has a jersey inside the top-15 that isn’t a part of those two groups of fan bases. Where is Houston? Golden State? Atlanta? Those are all playoff teams with at least one new player or All-Star (James Harden, Stephen Curry and Al Horford), which is a huge reason people buy jerseys. The fact that those teams have no top jerseys is disappointing at the very least.

Another huge warning is TV ratings. Nielsen gave the NCAA Final Four an 11.4 rating, translating to an average of 18 million viewers. The NBA Finals averaged a 7.1 rating over the seven games. Even the Stanley Cup was creeping closer and closer to NBA ratings. Sure, Game 7 blew Stanley Cup games out of the water, but the NHL didn’t play a Game 7, which would have been the highest-rated game.

The player quality is the obvious one. As an owner, do you want to spend $80 million on players to lose or $50 million? The answer is pretty easy; $50 million is a lot better. Undoubtedly, owners will eventually stop paying players to play for their teams because they have no chance of beating Miami. Plus, older players would rather take a huge pay cut to play for the champions than make money and lose. It’s frustrating and hard to keep calm in those conditions. No player wants to watch someone win all the time while they watch from the sidelines. Players might skip out on the NBA completely, as there’s no real prize to go after.

This all seems over-whelming; some random no-nothing stating the NBA will die soon. But it’s already started, and we have no way of stopping it. The only people with that kind of power reside in South Beach.

David Ridderhoff
David Ridderhoff is a junior Radio/TV broadcast major. He is the sports editor for The Flyer. He is also the general manager of Lewis’ radio station, WLRA. As an avid sports fan, he also collects hats and jerseys from a variety of sports teams.

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