Last Updated on February 18, 2023 by Amber Heard
American Football vs NBA Basketball Popularity in North America
American football and NBA basketball are two of the most popular sports in the United States. Both sports have a massive following and attract millions of viewers each season. However, when it comes to TV ratings, American football seems to be the clear winner. In this blog, we will examine the TV ratings of both sports and hypothesize as to why American football is more popular.
First, let’s look at the TV ratings for American football. The National Football League (NFL) is the premier professional football league in the United States. According to Nielsen, the average viewership for NFL games during the 2020-2021 season was 15.4 million. The NFL’s biggest game of the year, the Super Bowl, is one of the most-watched television events in the United States. In 2021, the Super Bowl had an average viewership of 96.4 million.
Now, let’s compare these numbers to the TV ratings for NBA basketball. The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the premier professional basketball league in the United States. According to Nielsen, the average viewership for NBA games during the 2020-2021 season was 1.4 million. The NBA Finals, which is the NBA’s biggest event of the year, had an average viewership of 7.5 million in 2020.
Based on these numbers, it’s clear that American football is more popular than NBA basketball in terms of TV ratings. But why is this the case? There are a few factors that could explain the disparity in TV ratings.
Why is Football More Popular?
First, American football has a long history and a more established fan base. The NFL was founded in 1920, while the NBA was founded in 1946. American football has had more time to build a fan base and establish itself as a cultural phenomenon in the United States. This means that there are more people who grew up watching and following American football, which translates to higher TV ratings.
Second, American football is more accessible to a wider audience. NFL games are typically broadcast on Sunday afternoons and evenings, which are times when many people are available to watch TV. The Super Bowl, in particular, is typically held on a Sunday evening, which means that it can attract a massive audience. In contrast, NBA games are often played on weeknights, which may not be as convenient for viewers.
Third, American football has a more compelling narrative. The NFL is known for its dramatic storylines, including underdog teams making surprise playoff runs and legendary quarterbacks leading their teams to victory. These storylines make the games more engaging and exciting to watch, which can lead to higher TV ratings. While the NBA also has its fair share of compelling storylines, American football seems to have a more passionate fan base that is more invested in the drama of the game.
It should be noted that NBA basketball is more popular around the world than American football is. The NBA’s massive popularity has mainly to do with international players, Olympic competitions, and Michael Jordan.
In conclusion, American football is more popular than NBA basketball in terms of TV ratings in the United States. This is likely due to a combination of factors, including the long history and established fan base of American football, the more accessible timing of NFL games, and the more compelling narrative of the NFL. While both sports are popular and beloved by fans across the country, American football seems to have a more widespread appeal that translates to higher TV ratings.