The NBA by the num­bers

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

THE 2016-17 NBA sea­son gets un­der way next week. Here’s a peek at the num­bers be­hind the world’s most pop­u­lar bas­ket­ball league and its ri­val sports.

Money, money money Top salaries in the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion are among the high­est across the world of team sports, with LeBron James due to pocket just un­der US$31 mil­lion this sea­son af­ter ne­go­ti­at­ing a new three-year deal in Au­gust worth $100 mil­lion. James’ salary com­pares fa­vor­ably with the Na­tional Foot­ball League, the most-watched sport in the United States, where In­di­anapo­lis Colts quar­ter­back An­drew Luck has the high­est av­er­age salary at $24.6 mil­lion.

Ac­cord­ing to the Spo­trac web­site, which gath­ers data on play­ers con­tracts and salaries, Los An­ge­les Dodgers pitcher Clay­ton Ker­shaw draws the high­est salary in Ma­jor League Baseball, earn­ing $34.5 mil­lion in 2016.

Ice hockey con­tin­ues to lag be­hind the big three of Amer­i­can sport, with the game’s big­gest star, Pitts­burgh’s Cana­dian in­ter­na­tional Sid­ney Crosby, earn­ing around $10.9 mil­lion per year.

Elite NBA stars, mean­while, re­main the kings for gen­er­at­ing en­dorse­ment dol­lars, with James sign­ing a life­time spon­sor­ship deal with Nike in De­cem­ber 2015 that is ex­pected to see him be­come a bil­lion­aire. Forbes mag­a­zine es­ti­mates James’ 2016 en­dorse­ment earn­ings at $54 mil­lion, although his to­tal earn­ings were still re­ported to be less than the world’s high­est-paid foot­ball play­ers – Cris­tiano Ron­aldo ($88 mil­lion) and Lionel Messi ($81.4 mil­lion).

Draw­ing a crowd With a stag­ger­ing 2430 matches in the reg­u­lar sea­son, Ma­jor League Baseball at­tracted around 73.1 mil­lion through the turn­stiles in 2016, an av­er­age of 30,168 per match. But in terms of av­er­age at­ten­dance, the Na­tional Foot­ball League con­tin­ues to rule. With each team play­ing only 16 reg­u­lar-sea­son games, crowds av­er­age out at around 68,400 per game.

The NBA mean­while, played in smaller, in­door venues, at­tracted an av­er­age crowd of 17,481 a game in 2015-16, a to­tal of around 21.5 mil­lion fans.

By com­par­i­son, the leading foot­ball leagues of Europe hold up well, with Eng­land’s Premier League at­tract­ing 13.8 mil­lion spec­ta­tors in 2015-2016, an av­er­age of 36,451 per match. Pulling power The Na­tional Foot­ball League re­mains the jug­ger­naut of tele­vi­sion view­ing fig­ures in the United States, with av­er­age au­di­ences of 16.6 mil­lion per game against 7.3 mil­lion per NBA game.

The gulf in view­ing fig­ures is even more stark when con­trast­ing the num­bers for the two sport’s show­piece oc­ca­sions – the Su­per Bowl and the NBA Fi­nals.

Last year’s NBA Fi­nals thriller be­tween the Cleve­land Cava­liers and Golden State War­riors drew an av­er­age of 20.3 mil­lion view­ers, with a peak au­di­ence of 31 mil­lion for the sev­enth and fi­nal match in the se­ries won by the Cavs.

This year’s Su­per Bowl – a fix­ture in the US sport­ing land­scape which is akin to a na­tional hol­i­day – at­tracted 111.9 mil­lion view­ers.

The dif­fer­ence in view­ing num­bers is re­flected in the sums each sport is able to de­mand for tele­vi­sion rights. The NFL earns around $7.2 bil­lion a year through to 2022 while the NBA will earn $2.7 bil­lion a sea­son un­til 2025 – a mas­sive in­crease on its pre­vi­ous deal of $930 mil­lion a year.

Ma­jor League Baseball is a dis­tant third at 1.5 bil­lion a year (4 mil­lion view­ers per match) with the NHL glean­ing $633 mil­lion (1.8 mil­lion view­ers on av­er­age).

Bil­lion­aire’s club With its cav­ernous sta­di­ums, gi­ant tele­vi­sion con­tract and the global pulling power of the Su­per Bowl, the NFL re­mains the most valu­able league in Amer­i­can sport, ac­cord­ing to Forbes.

The league is worth an es­ti­mated $74.8 bil­lion in 2016, with each fran­chise worth an es­ti­mated $2.3 bil­lion. Ma­jor League Baseball is just ahead of the NBA in terms of over­all value, at $38.6 bil­lion ($1.3 bil­lion per fran­chise) against $37.4 bil­lion ($1.2 bil­lion per team).

The NHL is dwarfed by its three ri­vals, with a to­tal value es­ti­mated at $15.2 bil­lion, $500 mil­lion per team.

Ac­cord­ing to Forbes, the Dal­las Cow­boys are the most valu­able team in world sport at $4.2 bil­lion, ahead of Real Madrid ($3.65 bil­lion) and FC Barcelona ($3.55 bil­lion), the two ti­tans of Euro­pean foot­ball. The New York Yan­kees baseball team weigh in at $3.4 bil­lion with Manch­ester United, an­other com­mer­cial jug­ger­naut, fifth at $3.32 bil­lion. The New York Knicks are ranked the most valu­able NBA team at $3 bil­lion. –

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