RE: the sentence in boldMultiple polls have shown that people don't like politics in sports and they are watching less NBA because they thinki it is too political. Gallup released a positive/negative opinion on sports and sports are now seen negatively due to years of being too political. Ratings are in the toilet and "the leagues are too political" is sited as the major reason at least twice as often as "i dislike watching sports without crowds." For the NBA, "league is too political" is sited as more of a reason for people watching the NBA less than the NBA not having live fans, the NBA having a low quality of play and officiating and the NBA's involvement with China close to put together.
The NFL was just as political, maybe even more so, than the NBA. If they just stuck to sports, they had a chance. But a year of a season like this, and NFL's ratings are going down at least 20 percent and people's opinion of the NFL in polls will be in the toilet, and the reason given mostly for this is, too much politics in the NFL.
“The league has become too political” was the clear choice for the decline, with 38% of respondents. “Boring without fans” captured 28% of the vote while the NBA’s association with China caused 19% of sports fans to turn the dial, another nod to a league Trump labeled a “political organization” last week after players boycotted games in response to a police officer shooting Jacob Blake seven times in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The Harris Poll found the NBA is more partisan than any other sport. Only 34% of Republicans say they “actively follow” the NBA, compared with 48% of Democrats.
28% + 19% = 47%. So the difference between those who claim "the league has become too political" as the reason for watching fewer games versus those who cite "boring without fans" and the China association is 9% (and that's not including the 3rd factor - "low quality of play" that you mentioned) . If you regard 9% as a "close" difference, then surely you have to accept that the 10% difference between "the league has become too political and "boring without fans" is also close?
From that same Forbes article
So an even "closer" gap between those who are watching fewer games and those who are actually watching more.While 39% of sports fans say they are watching fewer games, 32% answered they are consuming more basketball this summer (28% say the same amount). Harris did not ask those fans why they were watching more.
NBA ratings are in fact down overall through the first round of the playoffs compared with last year, but it’s hardly an apples-to-apples comparison. Summer TV viewership typically lags springtime watching, when the playoffs are normally aired. This year, the overall numbers are skewed by the need to air games during the day to accommodate a playoff calendar that has been condensed because of the pandemic. Ratings are up over last year’s playoffs for the games that have aired in prime time.
Playoffs giving league boost in viewership, unless they are on broadcast during daytime hours.
The NBA scored its largest audience in months — and cable’s best first round playoff audience in two years — with Wednesday’s Game 7 nailbiter between the Rockets and Thunder.
The NBA scored its largest audience in months -- and cable's best first round playoff audience in two years --