Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, politics have seeped into nearly every American institution, including sports.
The National Basketball Association has Black Lives Matter painted on its courts, NBA and Major League Baseball players are kneeling for the national anthem, and for those hoping to watch sports as a brief respite from ongoing political drama, their favorite pastimes are now tainted with that drama.
Americans did show up for the 2020 re-debuts of the NBA and MLB in late July. After the political stunts the two leagues played on their opening nights, however, both sports took a massive ratings hit.
OutKick’s Ryan Glasspiegel calculated the ratings drop both leagues saw the day after their debuts by using numbers found via Showbuzz Daily. The differences were staggering.
To be fair since I compared MLB vs NBA return night 1, here is night 2
MLB (last Friday, ESPN)
Mets-Braves (4p) – 922K
Brewers-Cubs(7p) – 1.0M
Angels-As (10p) – 797K
NBA (last night ESPN)
Celtics-Bucks (6:30p) – 1.3M
Mavs-Rockets (9p)- 1.7M
— Ryan Glasspiegel (@sportsrapport) July 31, 2020
What could have prompted such a precipitous drop? Well, it probably was the total disrespect for the United States of America and the fact that both leagues showed partisan support for the Marxist, anti-racist (meaning either you’re with us or you’re a racist) Black Lives Matter movement.
— Nick Angstadt (@NickVanExit) July 30, 2020
— Sporting News MLB (@sn_mlb) July 23, 2020
The shrinking audiences are far from what was hoped for given the fact that the world has been deprived of live sports for months now.
Apparently, America’s much-talked-about silent majority would rather continue to endure the boredom of coronavirus quarantines with no sports than sit through one more minute of social justice warrior virtue-signaling.
Rather than listen to a bunch of rich, privileged athletes tell them how racist they are, Americans prefer to watch Tom Brady — a friend of Donald Trump’s and an aging NFL quarterback — “hit golf shots into the woods,” as Ethan Strauss of The Atlantic so aptly explained last Sunday.
“You could chalk sagging interest up to pandemic conditions,” Strauss wrote, “but 5.8 million tuned in to watch Tom Brady hit golf shots into the woods.”
The ratings drops in the NBA and MLB likely are the result of anthem kneeling and BLM protests.
During the 2017 NFL season, just a year after the time that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling for the anthem — when the action was still fresh in fans’ minds — the NFL had similar struggles.
Overall, NFL ratings decreased by nearly 10 percent in 2017, dropping from 16.5 million viewers in 2016 to 14.9 million in 2017.
Fans are tired of left-wingers hijacking their sports for political activism.
It will be interesting to see how leagues respond if viewership continues to wane. If that fade affects the bottom line, they’ll have to decide what’s more important — making a profit or moral grandstanding.
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