What happens if a Sunday in the NFL falls on Christmas? The NBA will soon learn.
No American sports league competes with the for television viewership. We have long known this.
Even the Mighty suspended its Thursday night TNT programming until the conclusion of the football season. And as other leagues give The Shield concessions, the NFL continues to chew up calendar days. Saturdays have already been grabbed by the NFL (and Video).
Christmas Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day are the NBA’s two biggest days. Christmas, however, falls on a Sunday this year. The day of football.
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The NFL has moved 11 of its games to Saturday while keeping three on Sunday, one in each of the NFL’s customary broadcast slots, in an effort to appear amicable. But it’s more than enough to make the NBA’s five-game schedule difficult. Just take a look at how the leagues match up against one another.
Recent Events in 2020: FOX and NFL Network viewers for the Vikings-Saints Christmas Day game averaged 20.1 million. On the same day, little more than 7 million people tuned into the NBA to watch the Lakers, the league’s defending champions, play the Mavericks.
2021 saw the NFL dominate once more with two games on a Saturday during the holiday season. A total of 28.59 million people watched the Packers-Browns game on FOX and NFL Network, while 12.62 million people watched the Colts-Cardinals game. The NBA, meanwhile, experienced its lowest audience (4.1 million on average) since 2008 when it added a five-game Christmas schedule. It also saw its lowest audience since ESPN purchased NBA rights prior to the 2002-03 season.
The Benefit of The Association
Since a few years ago, the number of NBA regular season games shown on ABC, TNT, and ESPN has increased. In 2020–21, viewership increased by 19% over 2019–20, which was up 3% from the year before. Given the involvement of top clubs and significant markets, this year’s Christmas games should all be ratings successes. The following is the schedule, all timings Eastern:
2:30: Lakers vs. Mavericks; 5:00: Bucks vs. Celtics; Noon: 76ers vs. Knicks
Grizzlies at. Warriors at 8:00
Suns at. Nuggets at 10:30
Beyond the teams themselves, the draw includes everyone. One of the aforementioned teams is home to eight of the top ten most popular NBA players on social media (though keep in mind Stephen Curry will not play this Christmas due to injury).
Here’s that full list:
- Stephen Curry (485M)
- Ja Morant (351M)
- LeBron James (268M)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (215M)
- Luka Doncic (210M)
- Jayson Tatum (153M)
- Jordan Poole (148.7M)
- Kevin Durant (140.5M)
- Zion Williamson (118.4M)
- Klay Thompson (112.7M)
(Playing on Christmas)
NBA statistics shows that celebrities from the league generate a ton of social media traffic, with more than 4 billion views so far this season. That is an increase of 42% from the same moment in 2021. Nearly three times as many people follow them on Instagram as the NFL does. Instagram demonstrates the NBA’s allure to generations that are more likely to have cut the cord, even though it may not matter in the race for a $75 billion television rights agreement. generations, for instance, that might watch the NFL’s Thursday night games on Prime Video. 56 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 have an Amazon Prime Video subscription, according to Statista.
This is good news in the long run. They are, however, forced to wear coal socks for the time being. For the balance of the regular season, the NFL has extended to five days, and Monday Night Football will fall on Christmas Day in 2019.
The NBA ceased playing games on Thanksgiving in 2005, so they haven’t trodden on the toes of the NFL. It was a shrewd commercial move. The holiday, however, has always been “their” day. That will be put to the test this year. The NFL has demonstrated that once it finds something that works, it will continue to hunt for more of it.