Thursday, February 21, 2013

Water Cooler Talk: What to do about the NBA All-Star Game

The NBA All-Star game was this past Sunday and like always it was a very high scoring game with virtually no defense played at all.  The game lately has not been exciting and it doesn’t help when All-Star Saturday has been lackluster.  For this post I am going to compare the NBA All-Star game TV ratings to the other major sports.  I also asked fellow Sport Management Students Kevis Pinto, Michael Proska, and Lindrit Shkodra what they felt could be done to make the game gain viewership.   
This year’s game had the second highest TV ratings since 2005.  This was up 13% from last year but last year’s game was played at the same time as the Academy Awards so it is understandable why the ratings were low.  All-Star Saturday got about the same ratings as the games even without the same star power as the game.  Even though these ratings are high compared to recent games, The Walking Dead and Downton Abbey both had much higher ratings and played at the same time as the game.

The NBA All-Star game ranks third among the major sport in TV ratings.  The NFL is first and consistently has ratings over 7.  No matter how boring the Pro Bowl is everyone still watches it.  This is because America loves football and will watch anything involving NFL stars even though the game is so bad. 
The MLB All-Star game comes in second with ratings usually over 6.  Last year the game had a historic low at a 6.2 rating.  Ever since the tie in the 2002 game, the ratings have dropped every year.  Even making the game count has not helped the decline.  The MLB game use to be a staple of the summer.  At its peak the game had a 28.5 rating.

Finally coming in last out of the four major sports is the NHL.  It does not help them that every four years the game is cancelled due to the Olympics and it has been cancelled twice in the last 8 years because of work stoppage.  The ratings for last year’s game drew a 1.3 which was the highest since 2004.  The next game is not until 2015 so maybe by than more people will want to watch.  But don’t feel bad hockey fans the MLS game has ratings lower than .5 the last couple years. 
Michael came up with two ideas that he thought would make the game better.  “One option is to take an MLB approach and give home court advantage in the NBA Finals to the team that represents the winning conference.  This could ensure that the players put forth their full effort during the All-Star game.”  This approach has not worked out well for the MLB but NBA fans could be more open to the idea of the game actually counting for something.  “Another option I think could work would to make every All-Star participate in one of the events on Saturday night.  This will make the dunk contest, three-point contest, and skills challenge a lot more exciting because it will feature the best players.”  I really like this idea.  I believe that so many more people would tune in on Saturday to watch.  Everyone wants to see Lebron James in the Dunk Contest.   

Kevis believes that there should be a whole format to the game.  “I think that in general the All-Star game format should be different, and David Stern and whoever else makes decisions on the festivities should sit down and discuss some changes, maybe even major ones.”  Kevis could not think of a successful one off the top of his head but if anyone could think of a great answer they would be working for the NBA.  He also agreed with Mike’s idea to have the best players participate in the festivities on Saturday.  

Lindrit thinks that more entertainment factors should be added to the game.  “I think having a 1 on 1 type event would really draw some extra fans.  Kobe vs. Lebron 1 on 1 would be sure to see an increase in views.”  I really love this idea.  So many people would tune in to finally see the answer to the question of who would win in a one on one game.  The problem is NBA players would probably never agree to this but we can all dream of seeing it one day.  Another idea he had was to add comedians as broadcasters specifically Kevin Hart.  Kevin Hart has been the MVP in back to back celebrity games.  I think people would love to see him broadcast because he is very funny and does have basketball knowledge. 

In the end no matter how many suggestions we have nothing is probably going to change.  We just have to hope that the players become more creative for the dunk contest and decide to try one year at the game.  If you guys have any other suggestions let me know I would love to get your opinions on how the game could be better.     

1 comment:

  1. I would love to see the one-on-one that Lindrit talked about. That would be awesome and totally unique. Unfortunately I don't see anybody ever agreeing to it. Also, it makes me really happy that Downton Abbey out-rated the NBA All-Star game. Probably the best show on television.