NBA Fans Adjust to Covid Restrictions

February 9, 2021


(NBA Photos)

By Degan Baca

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, all sports were canceled, including the NBA. But with the cancellation of sports, it gave the league time to change certain rules. A notable rule is that players on the bench must be wearing a mask and stay 6-feet apart at all times. This rule is just one of the many ways to help the league stay open and make money.  Another rule is that no fans are allowed to be inside of the stadiums, and this has a major impact on the game’s income because if no fans are allowed to attend games, that means no ticket and food sales, which is a big part of the league’s income. 

 For some scholars, watching basketball is an outlet, and it isn’t the same with these new rules.

Colter Watkins, a ninth grader at ASK Academy said, “I think that some of these rules are a bit outrageous and I don’t agree with them, but if it keeps the league going I can deal with it,” he said, “I barely even watch basketball anymore, especially now, just because it isn’t that interesting with just the players playing the game.  I like to watch all of the fans get hyped with me, I also like to watch the halftime shows and all of the little things in between time-outs and quarters,” he said. “So really it is just the small things that get me excited, and ready to watch a game.”

Only  7.5 million people watched the NBA Finals in December 2020. During the 2019 NBA finals, nearly double the amount of people tuned in. This is a dramatic decline in viewers. Seeing how this pandemic struck fast and teams and the league had to find some way to keep playing it isn’t that bad, because it will prepare the league for similar circumstances, where nobody is allowed to watch the game in the stadiums and everyone on the sideline must wear a mask and stay 6 feet apart. But if this type of play keeps going on for longer, the fear is that the league is going to lose a lot of their profit and start losing fans. 

Former ASK Academy scholar  Brenden Yost said, “I stopped watching the NBA once they made the new rules and guidelines. To be honest it is hard to watch it, it’s kind of boring in a way, and the way the schedule is I can’t even keep up with who is playing.”

NBA teams play around 3.5 games a week and practice around 10 hours a week. In comparison, the NFL plays one game per team and they practice around 3 to 4 days a week.

Mitchell Freedman, a history Project Manager at The ASK Academy, has been a Lakers fan since 1968 and says the new restrictions has not kept him from watching. Freedman, unlike many others, keeps up with his team’s record and stats.

“I don’t think it is very hard to watch the games, heck I usually watch them when we are eating dinner or maybe if I am grading things.” He also doesn’t care much for the halftime shows or any of the dancing in timeouts, he just likes to watch the game.

“If I am at a game,” he said, “It is a whole different story.”

Freedman, who lived in California for 49 years, was able to attend at least 60 Lakers, Clippers, Cavaliers, Nets, and Knicks games. “It’s awesome, I enjoy them,” he said,  when Freedman talked about the covid protocols he says that he thinks they are much more effective in the NBA than most sports, and is just happy his teams can still play.

“I think there should not be fans at all in this pandemic time,” Freedman said. “However, I am not seeing the downside I feared happening yet from having some fans there–the Courtside Karen notwithstanding.”

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