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TV Is NBA Fans’ Best Seat in the House 

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Oct 25, 2021

The new National Basketball Association (NBA) season started with the most-watched Wednesday night game on ESPN of the last 18 years, a thrilling double OT game between the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics.


No doubt, fans were glued to their seats and most of those seats were in their homes, according to the analysis of five representative 2021 consumer/market surveys from Local Sports Insights. In all five markets, more than 70% of men 18+ said they watched the NBA on TV during the past 12 months, ranging from 73.3% in Orlando to 78.7% in Detroit. 


Although plenty of women are NBA fans, the surveys clearly revealed the great majority are men 18+: Orlando 65.1%, Detroit 67.1%, Houston, 61.3%, Sacramento 61.3% and Seattle-Tacoma 60.6%. Interestingly, almost as many men are still NBA fans in Seattle-Tacoma, even though the Seattle Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City during 2008 to become the Oklahoma City Thunder. The other four markets have existing NBA teams. 


Another insight from the Local Sports Insights surveys is less than 20% of men 18+ said they listened to NBA games on the radio: Houston 8.7%, Detroit 10.2%, Sacramento 13.4%, Seattle-Tacoma 13.4% and Orlando 19.9%.


TV advertisers should be aware men 18–44 don’t dominate NBA fandom. In two of the markets from The Media Audit/Local Sports Insights 2021 surveys, larger percentages of men 45+ are NBA fans: Detroit 34.6%, compared to 32.4% for men 18–44, and Sacramento 33.4%, compared to 27.9% for men 18–44.

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