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Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

Meet the Staff

Allie Lindner is a junior and a designer for Free State Journalism. She is involved in National Honors Society, Link Crew, volleyball, and soccer. Outside of school, she enjoys shopping and hanging out...

NEWS: Decline in Viewership

NBA views on a slow downward trend
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Mallory Thompson
The NBA’s viewership has declined almost 45 percent since the early 2010’s.

Over the years, basketball has changed and evolved in many ways. Scoring has increased, the utilization of the three-point line has skyrocketed, and the pace has climbed back up. With all these improvements to the game, why is viewership on the decline? 

According to SportsMediaWatch.com, the average regular-season viewership for the 2022–23 season is about 1.59 million views. This is a slight downturn from the 2021–22 season, but a far cry from the early 2010s, which averaged around 2.51 million views. NBA fans spot different discrepancies that they believe are the reason for this downturn. Senior Ryan Whittlesey points to one problem that has gotten worse over time: officiating.

“Officiating has gotten super strict, and fouls have become such a heavy part of the game,” Whittlesey said. “Players cannot be as aggressive or physical anymore, which is why I think people might not watch. Officials making themselves frequently involved in the game is horrible for the league.”

Some fans also point to the simple evolution of the game. The NBA has become an offensive-heavy league, and that ties to the talent across the league. With more great players in the game, statistics like field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and free throw percentage all increased over the years showing the increase in offense league-wide.

“You could say every team has a star, and that also goes to the point that basketball is a worldwide sport, bringing in talent from every place in the world,” sophomore Cash Nelson said. “You’re going to have a star on each team, and they’re going to get their buckets.”

Another point fans call attention to is the superteam era. Since LeBron James joined the Miami Heat with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade, many other teams have created monster teams by picking up superstars from free agency or trades. This scenario creates a power vacuum in the league, as exemplified by Kevin Durant’s departure from Oklahoma City to a stacked Golden State Warriors team.

“Superteams throw off the entire balance of the league,” Senior Charlie Kelsey said. “Seeing the same teams win year after year is no fun to watch. There is not much loyalty to a franchise anymore.”

Looking past the factors of declining viewership, the league has taken steps to make the game more appealing. One massive addition to the 2023–24 season was the In-Season Tournament. The thrilling championship showdown between the Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Lakers raked in 4.58 million viewers, becoming the most-watched non-Christmas game during the regular season since 2018. The tournament was a huge success and excited viewers for future additions to the regular season.

About the Contributors
Thomas Patton
Thomas Patton, Reporter
Thomas is a second year member of the journalism staff. He is Student Council co-president, an NHS officer, and a member of the student-athlete leadership team. Thomas loves to play sports in his free time.
Mallory Thompson
Mallory Thompson, News Photo Editor
Mallory Thompson is a junior at Free State. This is her second year on staff and she is Photo Editor for the Free Press Newspaper and Online. Outside of journalism, Mallory is involved in LINK Crew, National Honor Society, and the Student Library Advisory Board.
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