Christian Branch

If you ask anyone, the sport associated with the U.S. would be football. That is why we differentiate it from European football by calling it “American football,” because it is America’s sport, and it has been for decades.

The “America’s favourite past-time” title has gone to the NFL for as long as many can remember, and no other professional sporting league has ever come close to challenging that.

However, is now the time for that debate to begin? With an upsurge in ratings, viewership and social media interaction, the NBA is making a serious case as to why they might eclipse the NFL as America’s sport.

First off: the NFL is a powerhouse of a sports league. In 2017, the league brought in $14 billion of revenue compared to the NBA’s 7.4 billion in that same year.

While that statistic may scream to some that the NFL is clearly bigger than the NBA, it is important to take into account the stark differences between the sports and their respective seasons.

The NFL season consists of 16 games per team, with each team having 53 players on a roster.

The NBA season, on the other hand, is made up of 82 games per team, with each team containing 12-15 players on an active roster. That translates to 256 regular season games being played each year in the NFL, vs. 1,230 regular season games played each year in the NBA.

You would think that this would obviously give the NBA the advantage in the revenue department, right?


Because fewer games are played in the NFL each year, it is much easier to direct the audiences focus on a big Sunday Night game between two rival teams, which is not to mention the huge amount of advertising revenue that is brought in all season.

Long story short, the NFL regular season schedule is much easier to follow because there are only games on Sun-day, Monday, and Thursday.

As a result, viewership among NFL games is much higher than in NBA games. However, do not be misled by these stats. Revenue and viewership do not tell the whole story.

Since 2015, the average NFL viewership has gone down by approximately two million views each year, not to mention the eight-percent decline in television ratings since then.

The NBA continues to see steady increases in both categories, which is telling as to how well of a job the NBA is doing at making nationally-televised games more entertaining and engaging to audiences of all ages.

From hilarious halftime shows to thrilling commentary, to player interviews, if you can name it, TNT and ESPN most likely have it.

NBA players do not wear helmets. It does make a difference from the fans perspective, especially for the fans that regularly follow the sport.

Without helmets, you are able to become familiar with what players look like, observe their facial expressions and remember unique features about the leagues’ stars, which translates into all aspects of our lives, such as social media, dinner table talk, classrooms, you name it.

The NFL banks on the success and popularity of their star players and top teams. However, just recently, one of the league’s most talented running backs, Kansas City Chiefs Kareem Hunt, was released after a video surfaced of him kicking and punching a woman in a hotel.

The video was found in February of 2018, and the NFL swept it under the rug until TMZ released it that Novem- ber. Add this on top of the current national anthem protests and how the league’s front office has dealt with them, it is evident that players and the general public alike are not happy with the NFL’s actions as of late.

If this keeps up, we must ponder the question, is the NBA up next?