Why quality should trump quantity
Some things are good. Some things are bad. And some things that seem bad are actually good, like a strike-shortened NBA season. Lets face it, the NBA season is too long, as are the MLB and the NHL seasons. Owners have a history of squeezing more games into a season because it’s the simplest way to squeeze out more revenue. What they seem to miss is the dilution of their product by focusing on quantity instead of a quality.
If I was commissioner, the first thing I’d do is cut down the NBA season. It’s in the best interest of the game. In my estimation, the perfect season length is 44 games. That’s two games a week for 5 months. And here’s why:
The NBA is a star-driven league. By shortening the season, you get more years out of every player, which means stars will be performing at their highest level for longer. For example, if the NBA’s season had been shorter, Kobe would be a lot closer to his 2005 peek right now, which means his prime would more closely overlap with LeBron’s prime (right now) — who wouldn’t want to see that? Plus, there would be fewer injuries due to strain (think Yao Ming, Greg Oden, etc.). Every time you see a D-Leaguer in an NBA uniform your first thought should be, “that guy’s playing? Man, the NBA season is too long.”
With fewer games, every game means more in the standings. The great thing about the NFL is one or two games can make or break a season. How many teams end up at 9 – 7 ? A slew of them, and each rues one game that messed up their chances at the playoffs. The English Premier league is another good example. Every match matters, and each is an event. How often is a regular season MLB game an event? One of the reasons the level of play in the NBA playoffs goes up so much is not simply because the teams are better, it’s because players are playing that much harder — there’s rarely urgency in the regular season.
By scheduling games twice a week, the NBA can establish a pattern of ‘basketball nights,’ which would be good for business. Part of the NFL’s success is that it’s monopolized Sundays. When Americans wake up on Sunday, they know it’s football time. The NBA schedule is constantly in flux; games are on almost every day of the week. Casual fans can’t tell you when the local team’s next NBA game is, but they know when the next NFL game is.
Less is More
Basketball is my favorite sport, but there’s more of it than even I can watch. In a 44-game season, there would still be some 500+ NBA regular season games to watch. Anybody who needs to watch more NBA than that needs to try going outside.
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