DeMaurice Smith suggests NFL look at NBA to help ratings

February 26, 2018

NFL ratings are down. NBA ratings are up.

Those facts haven’t gone unnoticed by NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith. Smith told ESPN it’s worth looking at the NBA’s model to see if they can learn anything from them.

NFL games still draw huge ratings in relation to other broadcasts, but the league saw its numbers fall 9.7 percent in 2017. They also fell eight percent in 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Smith said there’s an argument to be made the NBA presents itself as “fresher, hipper” than other sports leagues.

“They do, I think, a great job of marketing their individual players, sometimes at a time when the [NFL] looks for ways to take their star players off the field,” Smith said. “I would be interested in better understanding the relationship between the broadcast partners and the NBA, what that relationship is like, how they do their TV deals, their rights deals.

“But I think that, given the year-over-year ratings issue in football, it begs the question, ‘Should we be doing something different?’ And that might mean the restructuring of the season in a way to make it more fan-friendly.”

Smith said the league could improve ratings by offering better “marquee” match-ups.

Smith also told ESPN that he’s met with the league’s broadcast partners to discuss “issues related to the game.”