Sports fans are tuning out pro basketball in the U.S., down 15% this season thus far. Through week 8, average viewers on nationally televised games was 885K compared to ~1M a year ago and ~1.2M two years ago.
One reason for the diminished enthusiasm is the rash of injuries to star players that have relegated them to the sidelines (Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Zion Williamson). The bigger issue, though, is the secular shift from cable TV bundles to internet-based alternatives.
Lightshed Partners media and telecom analyst Rich Greenfield says, “There is no doubt that the talent in any season can push ratings up or down, but everyone is fighting a very, very difficult underlying trend, which is less people subscribing to TV. And of the people who are subscribing to TV, they’re watching less and less every day.”