Is this what the NBA wanted? I suppose Kobe vs. LeBron would have been more appealing, but as far as consolation prizes go, the two most successful franchises in NBA history is a decent spot to land. Surely we would rather watch this than Lakers/Magic part II, right? I guess the question I am getting at is, how many truly national sporting events are there anymore? Are sports becoming even more regional? I’m saying this as someone who is completely invested in the Stanley Cup Finals, but has little to no interest in the NBA Finals. I would expect Boston and LA fans to have the exact opposite opinion. Hockey? Maybe in Chicago and Philly they care, but that’s about it. Is the NBA so much better?
How many basketball fans are out there? Or hockey, or baseball, or even football for that matter? I’m not talking about fans of the team, or fans of a particular player, I mean fans of the sport. In order of preference I’d rank the big four this way for me personally, 1. Baseball t2. Football t2. Hockey 4. Basketball. For me this means I’d take a Phillies World Series over anything else, I like going to baseball games, I probably watch more baseball than other sports, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I watch random baseball. You’d never catch me with the MLB package. I know a couple of people who have it, and they happily watch almost any game that comes on. This impresses the hell out of me. I don’t know that I could do that.
The other sports are not much different. You can just toss the NBA aside, but hockey has a large gap between the team I follow and my interest in the sport in general. I never played hockey, don’t watch it at any other level aside from the NHL (and Olympics every 4 yrs), and I certainly don’t tune in for random games on Versus, yet the Flyers are probably my second favorite team. Football is the easiest sport for me to watch without an interest, but I find there are less games each year that have my attention. Is this a personal maturation? Have I found other things to do with my time, or has there been a little bit of a shift in the sports culture?
Ratings for the Stanley Cup Finals are up, and I imagine Boston/LA will do far better than last year’s NBA Finals, but I wonder how many people will watch the series simply to watch basketball. I think the general, non-affiliated fan is a dying breed. Maybe there is too much coverage these days. Back when TVs were pieces of furniture you’d be lucky to catch a baseball game or two a week. If it happened to be two teams you didn’t care about, well tough sh*t. You watched anyway just to watch baseball. Now, you can see every single Phillies game on television, and even if you had the heart to watch them all, how much other baseball could you stomach? Combined with all the other forms of media, we become hyper focused on the hometown teams.
I guess I am just wondering if the NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup Finals are events the country really cares about. They seem more like celebrations for the two cities involved while elsewhere people hardly bat an eye. Why watch Lakers/Celts when I can watch the Phillies blow another one, or listen to people talk about them blowing another on the Phillies TV station? Long story short, I don’t care about the NBA Finals.