, Research Paper
Trend of basketball
The National Basketball Association no longer holds the prominence that it once had. In the aftermath of the lockout that took away half of the 1998-99 season, the National Basketball Association finds itself looking into an uncertain future. Appearing similar to the state of the league during the mid 1980’s, the NBA finds itself with a tarnished image and no icon’s to build the league around. With the retirement of Michael Jordan and the number of superstars in which the league built its popularity on during the 1990’s getting smaller, the National Basketball Association sits in limbo while it searches for its new identity.
There seems to be two sides differing in opinion as to just what is going to become of the National Basketball Association. On one side are those who feel as if the league will never recover from the lockout and the loss of Michael Jordan. With the whole labor dispute being about how to divide 2 billion dollars in television revenue amongst its owners and players, the NBA fell into the dark shadow of professional sports. Much like what Major League Baseball faced back during the 1994-95 season, the NBA must now try to overcome its tarnished image from the lockout during a rebuilding time in which the whole nature of the game has changed. No longer is their anymore championship dynasty’s, players that are associated with one team, or college seniors entering the draft. But rather, now there is a league that is dominated by talented 21year-old’s more focused on personal sponsorships and popularity than on winning.
On the other hand, there are those who feel as if the effects of the lockout will be suppressed due to the strength of the league and its progression towards a new style of play. According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, proponents of the National Basketball Association rest their faith for the league on four basic fundamentals: popularity, being hip, demographics, and marketing savvy. Basketball has an advantage over all sports due to its ease of being played. All you need is a basketball and a hoop. As long as this holds true, proponents feel basketball will always remain popular. During the NBA’s resurgence during the 1980’s and ‘90’s they, “tapped into the rhythm and mentality among younger sports fans that hadn’t been touched yet.” They built the league and its production values around a generation that was used to viewing basketball in a more in-fashion style than other sports did. Another positive for the NBA is the demographic segments in which it possesses for advertisers. Advertisers are constantly looking for vehicles that deliver young viewers, women, and crossover appeal into a wider audience. All three in which the NBA possesses. Finally, is the marketing savvy in which David Stern brought to the table when he became commissioner of the league. Stern was the first to push the use of sponsors to promote players in commercials, the merchandising push that defines modern sports marketing. With a strong commissioner such as Stern, proponents feel as if he will be able to turn the NBA around.
Whether or not the National Basketball Association will adjust to the hardships, in which it has been confronted with over the last three years, will have to wait to be seen. However is sits in a much shallower hole than did Major League Baseball back in 1995.