Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Will Fans Miss the NBA?

David Stern and Billy Hunter have a lot of work to do to save the NBA season

Today is the 68th day of the NBA Lockout...and no one cares.

Why would we?  The NFL is set to start on Thursday, and NCAA football kicked off last week.  The MLB season is winding down and heading towards the postseason.  And for those global sports fans, the MLS, English Premier League, and national soccer teams are off and competing.

So the question becomes, will the NBA be missed?

The short answer is yes...eventually.

As the NFL lockout continued through the summer, little was happening in the world of sports.  MLB games were being played, but early season baseball lacks the intrigue and suspense of a pennant race.  That put the spotlight directly on the NFL. 

Rumors and information were leaked and reported 24 hours a day as the lockout received unprecedented coverage.  Though sports fans grew tired of the overwhelming coverage, the discussion dominated every media outlet and was at the forefront of our minds.

But the NBA is in a different position.  Sports fans are preoccupied with actual sporting events and don't give a damn about the NBA lockout.  This places little to no fan pressure on the negotiating parties to reach an agreement.

So when will fans care?  The first regular season game is set to tip off on Nov. 1, the day after the conclusion of Week 8 of the NFL season.  If they fail to reach an agreement and miss that date, there will be some audible disgust; however, fans will still have the NFL to fall back on.

The NFL season culminates with Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis on Feb. 5, 2012.  Then, and only then, will fans really care. 

As the NBA lockout hides in the shadows of the NFL, the league risks becoming even less relevant as they struggle to fight off emerging sports.  And with a canceled season lurking, the NBA might lose what relevancy it has.

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