WASHINGTON, United States, Nov 8 – LeBron James isn’t sure why the NFL is losing US television viewers while the NBA and Major League Baseball enjoy strong ratings, but he warns the fun factor is dwindling.
The Cleveland Cavaliers superstar, speaking to reporters after a workout Monday, said he enjoyed seeing his favorite NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys, win 35-10 at Cleveland on Sunday before appearing at a campaign rally for US Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton ahead of Tuesday’s election.
But he noted how several top NFL players have said the NFL is more and more becoming the “No Fun League” and that could be a factor in drops of about 18 or 19 percent on Sunday and Thursday and nearly 25 percent on Mondays.
“I don’t know the reason,” James said. “I’ve heard some of the comments from some of the players about the game that the fun part of it is kind of being taken away.
“I know when I played (American) football I played it for that reason, for the competition and for the fun of it. I’ve seen a couple of the main guys talk about how the game is not as fun.
“You definitely don’t want to take the fun away from the game. That’s why we all fell in love with sports in general, to have fun with it.”
– Kids trim LeBron’s TV time –
Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James did explain why he doesn’t catch as many telecasts as he once did, aside from the NBA’s 82-game schedule keeping him busy.
“My kids kind of take me away from a lot of things that I used to watch,” he said.
The NFL fade comes as baseball’s World Series enjoyed high ratings for the Chicago Cubs’ first title run since 1908 and Cleveland missing out on its first crown since 1948 in a seven-game thriller that went extra innings in the final game.
“Baseball, it needed a push and with the playoffs and the World Series this year, it definitely helped,” James said. “Being at three of the World Series games, I think that history, them not being part of it and then being in it, that definitely helped. Being two Midwestern sports teams helped as well and then the games in general.”
The NBA had the highest ratings since Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls were a 1990s dynasty for James and his teammates making the greatest rally in NBA Finals history, recovering from 3-1 down to win a best-of-seven series for the crown just as the Cubs did.
“Our sport has done some great things over the last couple of years as far as the playoffs, especially in the finals. We’re just trying to continue to build our game,” James said.
“To know you were part of a game that was something people wanted to watch, that’s special. When they say it was the biggest ratings since Jordan in the finals, that gives you a lot of pride.”
– ‘She’s a great lady’ –
James wouldn’t declare the NFL could be surpassed by its top sporting rivals for America’s affection.
“I don’t want to talk about a shift, things of that nature,” James said. “I know what has happened in our sport and I get a sense of what has happened in baseball.”
James, who goes Thursday with his teammates to the White House to celebrate the Cavaliers’ NBA crown, said he spoke little to Clinton but enjoyed helping boost her hopes in the key battleground state of Ohio.
“It was great to be a part of it. She’s a great lady,” said James. “I was very appreciative of being able to do something like that in this state and show my appreciation for what she’s trying to accomplish. But she has so much on her plate right now there’s not much dialogue you can have in (so short) a time.”