Many factors contribute to decline in television sports viewership

Ian Helton, Staff Writer

The games, the practices, the tournaments.  Sports are a huge part of many people’s lives.  However, politics, Covid-19, and cost, all contributed to the decline of sports viewership on television. 

Since early 2020, sports ratings have been declining, and fast.  The 2020 NBA finals were down 51% compared to the 2019’s NBA finals viewership ratings. 

Costs are rising and things are becoming more expensive.  Television platforms also have high operating costs, it becomes very costly for them to stream live shows, and games along with recorded movies and other entertainment.  There are many different streaming platforms, and each one provides different sports channels than the other, therefore lowering certain sports ratings.

Politics are in today’s world, and it is no surprise that they are being spread throughout the sports industry.  Many people stopped viewing sports, due to the fact that sports and politics were mixing. For Example, August 26, 2016 Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem. This created a major controversy and shied many people away from sports. 

On the other hand, a good deal of people have been focusing more heavily on politics and bigger world wide issues.  Sports are not a top priority in most people’s lives. 

“There are bigger things going on than sports right now,” said Emmanuel Acho in an interview at Yahoo Finance’s virtual All Markets Summit. 

Many people have been pulled away from sports because there are countless problems in the world.

The pandemic flipped the world upside down.  An innumerable amount of people are still working and learning online. They are looking at a computer screen all day long and do not want to finish with work or school and then turn on the television on which would add to the their already high screen time. 

“People are telling us sports are no longer the priority in their lives,” said Jane McManus, director of the Marist Center for Sports Communication. “Think about it: You’re watching your kids Zoom into classes, and you may have stared at a screen all day for work, so you’re less inclined to turn the TV on for a game.” 

There are also a handful of people who opted out of watching sports during Covid-19, because they could not handle viewing players along with coaches, go against the safety guidelines.  Many people do not want to watch players rubbing up against each other without face masks, ignoring the safety guidelines and possibly causing an outbreak of Covid-19.

Throughout 2020 the viewership of sports declined for a variety of different reasons including politics, Covid-19, and costs.