Wednesday, October 19

Wait, Didn't Alanis Morissette Sing About This Already?

I hope I'm not the only one who noticed the irony in Bill Simmons' latest column at ESPN. Essentially, it boils down to this:

The NBA better watch out because if they cancel this season, people are going to abandon the league for hockey.

Yes, hockey, the same sport that canceled its season five years ago. Look, people, I've said it before and I'll say it again - the NBA can, and will, survive a canceled season, a half-season, or a three-quarter season. There is no possible way the NHL will ever overtake the NBA in popularity - it's just impossible.

On the one hand you have hockey, which enjoys a participation rate that dropped 20 percent in a recent survey.

On the other hand you have basketball, which is the MOST POPULAR SPORT with young children in the U.S., drawing more than 25 million participants every year.

Then you add in the NCAA, high schools, rec leagues, gym games ... I mean, can you imagine anyone less egotistical than Simmons even suggesting that the NHL even had a chance at passing the NBA in popularity?

And when you add in the fact that the NHL abandoned its fans for an entire season, and yet rebounded to better popularity, how can anyone in their right mind even remotely believe that the NBA losing a season will impact its' popularity long-term?

Maybe I'm missing something here, but it just seems ludicrous to me that the NBA's prospective canceled season should be causing anyone any worry. Yes, hardcore fans will miss some games and our annual Christmas tradition of watching overhyped regular season contests lull us into post-turkey naps might disappear, but, eventually, the league will return.

And so will its fans.


Weezy Quotes said...

'On the other hand you have basketball, which is the MOST POPULAR SPORT with young children in the U.S' really , are you sure about this one, i mean i still think its soccer, besides that Weezy Quotes it in his latest video...

PN said...

Here's the link to the article:

I should have left out "young" from my original article; not sure if soccer is more popular than hoops for pre-teens. Regardless, I think we can all agree that hockey ain't cracking the top 5.

Anonymous said...

A good points. I think that Soccer has a much greater opportunity to overtake Basketball than Hockey. Hockey is a great regional game, but it's regional. Especially as the demographics change and Hispanics become a larger and wealthier part of America, I see more of those discretionary dollars going towards Soccer and Baseball rather than the NBA or hockey.

PN said...

It's possible, but that's a looong-term worry, if you ask me. Keep in mind that the NFL and college football dwarf all other sports in the US, and football has lagged behind soccer as a participation sport for nearly 30 years.

In terms of viewer popularity, soccer now is where basketball was in the 1960s, meaning it has to overcome 50 years of history to overtake the NBA. When you combine the NBA's history with the fact that nearly everyone in the US is within walking distance of a basketball hoop, then multiply that by the popularity of the Final Four, you can see why I just don't see why this temporary labor glitch is going to derail the NBA's long-term popularity with the American public.