The NBA elected to have Black Lives Matter written on courts during its time inside the bubble at Disney. The league also allowed players to have social justice messages on the back of their jerseys, but according to commissioner Adam Silver, fans won’t be seeing those messages as much next season.
Silver joined the ESPN broadcast ahead of Game 4 of the Finals between the Lakers and Heat on Tuesday night and discussed the social justice messaging around the league.
“I would say, in terms of the messages you see on the court, on the jerseys, this was an extraordinary moment in time when we began these discussions with the players and what we all lived through this summer,” Silver explained. “My sense is there’ll be somewhat a return to normalcy, that those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor.”
Ratings have dropped exponentially for the NBA inside the bubble. The ratings for Game 1 of the NBA Finals were the worst of any Finals game all-time with an average of 7.41 million viewers. The ratings took a huge drop in Game 2 with an average of just 4.5 million viewers which was followed by Game 3 taking the all-time low crown with only 4.395 million viewers at its highest point.
It’s impossible to know that fans aren’t tuning into games solely because of the social justice messages on the court, political views, the lack of fans inside the bubble, the league competing against both the NFL and MLB, or a combination of all of those things, but the numbers simply are not good.
Silver touched on the ratings and fans not tuning in because of the messages as well, stating “I understand those people who are saying ‘I’m on your side, but I want to watch a basketball game.'”