While the NBA suspension is a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the world of sports and media, including the NBA TV ratings are expected to take a major hit. Along with being one of the more popular sports leagues, they are a major source of income for their television partners – Disney's ABC and ESPN and AT&T's TNT. Even though NBA TV ratings have been low throughout the season, they still draw in a large number of people as compared to other sources.
A clinical associate professor at NYU Tisch Institute of Global Sport stated that from a media business point of view, the NBA suspension is 'everything'. The suspension also affects the situation in two ways – the game broadcast and shows about the NBA where they talk endlessly about those games. During the offseason, people can talk about free agents as well as the upcoming season. With the NBA suspension, the season is put on hold, giving people much less to talk about.
An executive from Fox Sports raised questions about the NBA suspension, especially regarding the advertising revenue that has already been booked. As of now, it is not known whether the networks will return the money or NBA will find a way to work everything out. This also affects the NBA playoffs, which have always been the 'crown jewel' of the season for the NBA TV ratings.
If the playoffs are carried out, the networks could still work around the NBA suspension. However, they will not be able to make up for the entire loss. If all the networks are considered, there could be a loss of around $75 million to $100 million. As more people are opting to work from home and avoiding crowded areas, it could have helped NBA TV ratings.
Other leagues like the NHL and Major League Soccer have also put their seasons on hold. While NBA TV ratings would have improved, platforms like YouTube and streaming platforms will gain an advantage, say reports.
NBA To Suspend Season Following Tonight's Games pic.twitter.com/2PTx2fkLlW— NBA (@NBA) March 12, 2020
The NBA was suspended on Wednesday after Rudy Gobert tested as positive with COVID-19. As of now, Utah Jazz's Gobert and Donovan Mitchell are the two NBA players with coronavirus. On Thursday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver revealed that the NBA will take at least thirty days to return.