LeBron James not making the 2019 NBA playoffs has led to a large ratings decline.
By Devin Smith, Staff Writer
The viewership of this year’s postseason is lower than it has been in a while due to the LeBron effect, and it makes you wonder how the league will manage with him being on his way to retirement.
Through the first 50-plus games of the postseason, playoff telecasts are averaging 2.92 million viewers, an 18 percent decline from last year, and only one thing can be seen as the cause of this. The most popular player in the league LeBron James, failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2005, which is making plenty of fans lose interest.
In the 2016 NBA Finals, in which LeBron was the main attraction, there was an average of 31 million viewers. Last year, LeBron was the star of the playoffs and had the world buzzing. This year, without his inclusion, the entire affair seems kind of dull.
This ratings skid can almost be seen as a preview of what is to come. LeBron is on the tail end of his career, and it seems like there is not a player in the league who can be seen as the definitive replacement for him as the face of the league.
The last time the playoff viewership was this low was in 1999, the playoffs after time Michael Jordan retired from the NBA. This indicates exactly what happens when the face of the league does not make it to the playoffs. It has been 20 long years since the league has been in this position, as there has consistently been a player to dominate and be the poster boy.
LeBron is nearly 35 years old, which tells us that he does not have that many years left in the NBA. Most players retire by 38, and the ones that don’t never make it much further than that. The 2020s are set to begin soon and it is completely up in the air who will be the star of the league. There is a lot of amazing talent in the league right now such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kawhi Leonard, among others, but none who have reached that next level title as the undisputed best.
Judging by the ratings decline, the NBA desperately needs someone new to claim the throne.