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Mark Cuban Blames Cable For NBA Ratings Decline

“FOX Sports radio host Colin Cowherd disagreed with Cuban, instead blaming the ratings decline on the location of the NBA’s stars.”

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After seeing a 5 percent ratings dip for game telecasts last season across ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBA TV, viewership numbers have continued to decline for the NBA. 

The NBA has grown in popularity, creating offseason storylines as well as any league thanks to superstars regularly changing teams through trade and free agency. While those storylines are enjoyed by fans and media, the heightened focus on player movement has not led to any growth ratings for game telecasts

But according to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, the NBA’s TV partnerships are the biggest cause of their ratings decline. Most of the NBA’s national games are on cable networks, which are not as readily available on streaming packages as broadcast networks according to Cuban. As consumers cut the cord and move away from traditional cable providers, they may not have access to the NBA’s national games.

“Ratings are down because all of our national broadcasts are exclusively available on cable, which is losing subs daily,” Cuban wrote on Twitter. “Football benefits from being on broadcast TV which is in every digital and traditional package along with gambling available in some of the biggest markets.”

FOX Sports radio host Colin Cowherd disagreed with Cuban, instead blaming the ratings decline on the location of the NBA’s stars. Player movement created more league parity for the NBA, but many of their biggest stars moved to the West Coast. 

LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and others playing most of their games in the Pacific Time Zone has been the biggest culprit for decreasing TV ratings. According to Cowherd, a lack of superstars in the Eastern Conference creates low ratings for the early window of national broadcasts, acting as a weak lead-in for their West Coast games.

“On the flip side we help all cable broadcasters and distributors stay alive by keeping sports packaging alive, hopefully for the next 10yrs or more. Once it makes sense to simulcast streams in a low cost digital package, numbers will change” Mark Cuban later added.

Whether it’s load management for players, a regular season that lasts too long, superstars playing on the West Coast or cord-cutting, the NBA has no problem generating interest on social media, but they’ve failed to generate positive TV ratings out of that interest.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

St. Louis Cardinals Announcer Dan McLaughlin Charged With Third DWI

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

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Dan McLaughlin

St. Louis Cardinals television play-by-play announcer Dan McLaughlin has been charged with DWI after being arrested on Sunday in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

According to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, police received at least two phone calls from concerned drivers that a white BMW was driving erratically, with one caller saying it was driving into oncoming traffic.

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

Bally Sports Midwest and the released a joint statement Monday.

“We have been made aware that Dan McLaughlin was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated on Sunday night.. We are very disappointed to hear this, and are working to gather additional information before offering further comment.”

McLaughlin, 48, has served as the voice of the Cardinals for 24 years.

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Sports TV News

NFL Flex Scheduling Forces ESPN To Change Bowl Schedule

Jordan Bondurant

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The NFL flex scheduling an upcoming Las Vegas Radiers game out of Sunday Night Football on December 18 has forced ESPN to make a slight adjustment with its college bowl season schedule. But the change was something the worldwide leader was prepared to make.

The Raiders were originally scheduled to play the New England Patriots in the primetime window a week before Christmas, but with both teams losing ground in terms of the AFC playoff picture, NBC opted to go with a different game that night instead. Now fans will be tuning in to see the rematch between the New York Giants and the Washington Commanders.

The shift out of the Sunday night window for the Raiders forced ESPN to swap kickoff times for the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl the day before on December 17. Florida and Oregon State will play in Vegas at 2:30 p.m. eastern, with BYU and SMU facing off in Albuquerque at 7:30 p.m.

The switch allows workers at Allegiant Stadium in Vegas enough time to switch the venue over from college bowl game to Raiders home game.

“We are accustomed to flexibility and we anticipated having to maneuver our event schedules based on the possibility of the Raiders game being flexed,” said ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby.

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Sports TV News

FOX Scores Most-Watched PAC-12 Championship Game Ever

Jordan Bondurant

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Friday night’s Pac-12 championship game between Utah and USC drew the largest audience in the game’s history, according to FOX.

Over 6.2 million tuned in to watch the Utes dominate the Trojans 47-24 and dash USC’s hopes at making the College Football Playoff.

The network said viewership was up 45% compared to the 2021 title game, which aired on ABC and also featured Utah. The Utes won the conference crown in convincing fashion that year too, posting a 38-10 victory over Oregon.

The Pac-12 will be without USC and UCLA as member schools following the 2023 season. The Trojans and the Bruins will join the Big Ten in 2024.

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