Between cord cutters and controversies (it’s mostly the cord cutters and the NFL being slow to adapt to a new media landscape), there has been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the declining ratings with the NFL.
Between ESPN, TNT and NBA TV, the league’s viewership is up 32% this season and averaging 1.4 million viewers according to Nielsen, the highest start to the season since the 2010-2011 campaign. That was also LeBron James’ first year in Miami.
Last week’s Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game was ESPN’s most watched regular season game (3.2 million) since Christmas of 2016. TNT’s opening night broadcast between the Cleveland Cavs and Boston Celtics, while ultimately marred by Gordon Hayward’s injury, was still the second-most watched season-opening telecast in the network’s history with an average of 5.6 million viewers.
Local television ratings tend to be up and down with the teams (although they feel the cord cutting more on traditional broadcasts, and they are doing more streaming, which is growing rapidly).
The NBA has thrived when it has big stars to promote, and right now the game is loaded with them from the older guard — LeBron James, Kevin Durant, etc. — through young stars like Joel Embiid, Kristaps Porzingis, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. The league also has a resurgent Celtics team in a major market, a lot of buzz around Lonzo Ball and the Lakers, and Knicks fans have genuine reasons for hope. Then there are the star-powered teams in Golden State and Cleveland.
It’s all doing that while players are more active politically, which plays well with the NBA’s generally younger, more urban and diverse fan base. NBA fans want authenticity, and they are getting it.
Grizzlies sign second-round pick Jevon Carter to multiyear contract
Carter has impressed at NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and in Utah. His dogged, aggressive defense has slowed players — Trae Young had some of his worst games against Carter — and on offense his game has improved, including him dropping 26 points on the Jazz recently.
Carter was taken with the No. 32 pick after winning the Naismith defensive player of the year last season at West Virginia. The point guard was second in the nation with 3.03 steals per game and is the Mountaineers’ career leader in that category.
“Ray Allen from long distance” with chip shot to save par at American Century Classic
“Ray Allen from long distance, how many times have we said that?”
Ray Allen had a good weekend at the American Century Championships, the former NBA sharpshooter and future Hall of Famer finished third in the celebrity golf event. One of the reasons he was there, this chip shot on 13 Sunday.
Former Cowboy’s quarterback Tony Romo won the event, with former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder was second.
LeBron James sits courtside for Lakers’ Summer League win
There are two, maybe three guys playing for the Lakers in Summer League likely to be sharing a locker room with LeBron James next season — Isaac Bonga and Josh Hart, with maybe Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and/or Alex Caruso. Only Hart could see the court much.
LeBron was still courtside on Sunday for a quarterfinal game at Summer League, showing his support and being a good teammate. He gave Hart a hug on the court. Brandon Ingram stopped by and talked with LeBron for a bit.
LeBron watched the Lakers continue their strong run through the Summer League, racking up a 101-78 win. LeBron was into it, when Mykhailiuk took a shot midway through the first quarter LeBron yelled, ‘cash only!” The shot was nothing but net.
The Lakers are on to the Summer League semifinals. Los Angeles won the Vegas Summer League last year.
After losing to his father in golf, Stephen Curry leaps into Lake Tahoe