There has been plenty of speculation about why viewership has been down for professional sports this summer and fall. With just a few exceptions, see the chart below, viewers are NOT spending their quarantine time tuning into professional sports.
There are plenty of theories about the collapse of viewership starting with the fact that all of the sports were shifted from their regular seasons. In some cases playoff games from one sport were scheduled across from games from another sport. In fact the NBA championship game between the Lakers and the Heat had to compete with an NFL game between the Seahawks and the Vikings.
Another theory is that the politicization of professional sports has taken a toll on viewers who their sports to be a distraction from the hash reality of life. Social unrest and BLM protests following cases of police brutality became a cause for NBA players and many of their fans. But while many fans may agree with the political stand, they may also want to separate their politics from their sports viewing. The argument against this theory is that sports that have not made strong political statements have also seen lower numbers.
Still another theory is connected to the lack of fans in the stands. According to this theory, TV viewers subconsciously feel this as a statement about reduced importance of the games. Fewer/No fans = low energy = less interest.
What do you think? And if you’re not watching…why not?