Back in the ‘90s, the NBA was one of the most watched leagues in the world. The stars were spilling out into Hollywood thanks to movies like Space Jam, and basketball was king. Although the talent has always been there, the interest in the game hasn’t, but in recent years it has become more popular than ever.
One thing that has brought many viewers back is the rivalry between the Golden State Warriors and their fierce competitors the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Golden State Warriors have won the finals in three of the past four years, with the Cavaliers beating the Warriors in the other. A close rivalry means there is drama at every twist and turn, with each team’s results being compared as they fight it out neck and neck for glory.
NBA franchises are richer than they have ever been, making the overall quality better. Forbes understands that the average valuation of an NBA franchise is $1.65 billion, which increased by over 20% in just a year. The league produces billions of dollars worth of revenue year, and TV audiences are growing. All of this money is going back into making the sport better, with training facilities improving all of the time.
Shorter than football
Football has long been the USA’s favorite sport, but for some, the games are just too long. In a world where everything happens quickly thanks to social media and technology, spending over 3 hours waiting for a game of football to finish is too long. Basketball on the other hand often lasts just over 2 hours and the game is end to end, so it’s always exciting.
This excitement factor is bringing new eyes to the game, especially in the 18 to 49 age group. There is so much buzz about the sport at the moment that people are tuning in more often, but also attendances at the games are increasing. Last season the NBA sold 95% of its entire ticket allocation, with a total of 741 stadium sellouts. Tickets to basketball games are hot property.
The NBA is finding a way to embrace social media, and it has more followers on Twitter than the NFL. Players are encouraged to use social media and have regularly contacted young fans over the various platforms. This increased engagement with the stars keeps people interested and invested in the fortunes of these players.
Once again the basketball megastar is a thing, thanks to the likes of Stephen Curry and LeBron James. The fact these two giants played for the Warriors and the Cavaliers in the past few years has really helped fuel the rivalry. It reminds fans of the time when Michael Jordan faced off against Charles Barkley or his rivalry with Isiah Piston and the Detroit Pistons.
Basketball is exciting more people thanks to big rivalries on the court, embracing social media, and the speed of the game. Fans looking for an alternative to football are finding basketball is right up their street.