I very rarely use this format for a rant, but I'm over ESPN and their sad, lonely marketing push to make us care about the NBA's problems.
This morning on SportsCenter I saw two (!) NHL highlights, but they were after their "what NBA games are we not watching" report. They are coming off as a jilted ex, who can't get over you. I *get it* they have a financial investment in the NBA, but with NFL, college football, college basketball, and NHL, I seriously do not buy the line that there is nothing else on. ESPN even pushed out Jim Rome on Tuesday and ranted that he didn't buy that there wasn't anything else to watch except reality TV, which is kind of an indictment of the mentality of people who do watch the NBA: what -- it's ball night or the Biggest Loser or nothing? Sound like your viewers need to get a life.
And that's probably just what is going to happen, as what happens with all lockouts. The fans find something else to do (I saw an outrageous suggestion that you *play* basketball instead -- what, exercise??), someplace else to spend their money, and life moves on. The problem for ESPN and NBA (and TNT and ABC) is those ratings and those tickets don't come raging back after a lockout. If the lockout taught the NHL or MLB anything, it's that fans *do* find other things to do that are just as good, if not better. And cheaper. In this economy, are you really giving the fans a reason to find something else to do with their money?
And just so we are clear, I'm not a fan(atic) of the NBA, but I usually find myself wathcing playoffs, especially last year with the Heat. (I root for LeBron because of all the NBA "fans" who couldn't handle it messing with "team play". Yeah, I hope they win all the championships. Get over yourselves.)
PS: Jim Rome recanted his rant on Wednesday because he found the 123-point MAC game on Tuesday and World Series of Poker interesting. See, there is plenty out there to get your sports fix on without the vaunted NBA.