NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he was on the fence about changing Hack-a-Shaq rules. Among his considerations
I watch it and I think, ‘Oh my god, I feel people changing the channels
A few people came back to me and said, “Not so fast.” You can actually look at the data, Nielsen data, minute by minute. And in fact, when we look at the data, it’s not so clear people are turning the channel. In some cases, people are fascinated by the strategy.
So, I’m not saying that should be the final answer, but just looking at it from an entertainment matter, we should make sure we look at the data to to see if people are truly turning out because of a Hack-a-Shaq strategy.
I am among those fascinated by the strategy. It can be compelling to watch a bad free-throw shooter try to overcome his psychological hurdles at the line, and I’m interested to see how teams handle the related strategies of substituting and establishing pace.
However, Hack-a-Shaq makes games unbearably long. People might not tune out while the fouling occurs, but are they less likely to watch the entire game? I’m very curious about viewership data as games featuring Hack-a-Shaq progress.
Silver doesn’t have power to unilaterally change the rules, but he can influence the general managers who seem fine with the status quo. As long as Silver also sees reason to keep the current rules in place, though, it’s hard to see them changing.