Word on the streets is that Easter is coming up. Apparently when you are going around and collecting eggs for some reason or another this Sunday, you shouldn't put all of them in the same basket. For if you do so, there is a chance something happens to that basket, and you will lose all of your eggs you worked so hard for. Even that one your cool Uncle Bill hid in the gutter.
The reason we are talking about Easter eggs is because this is exactly what professional sports does, especially the NBA. They have chosen to forgo marketing the entire league, and instead decided to, well, put all their eggs in one basket. A vast majority of games on either ESPN, ABC, or TNT include either the Boston Celtics, the Cleveland Cavaliers, or the LA Lakers. Take this last week. Last Sunday Cleveland took on the Mavericks on ABC, then D.C. Tuesday on TNT, then Orlando on Friday on ESPN, then ended the week on Sunday against the Spurs on ABC. That's 4 times in one week.
Now I'm not whining and complaining and saying that the Magic should get that much exposure, etc. Understand that.
The problem is that other than the hardcore basketball fan, no one knows what else the league has to offer. Believe it or not, good basketball is played in Portland, and Atlanta, Philly, and even Orlando. Just not Memphis.
As TV ratings are more important than pretty much anything else these days, when we reach the NBA Finals in a few months there will certainly be a discussion about said ratings. Last year, with their eggs in the same basket, the NBA hit the lotto with a Laker/Celtic matchup. The Finals scored a 9.3 Nielsen rating (does anyone actually know what these numbers mean?), up from a 6.2 the year before.
That said, who's fault will it be if Atlanta takes on San Antonio this year? Or how about Orlando vs. Utah? Obviously the ratings would be down. But wouldn't the league and ABC be better off it they had actually showcased a larger amount of the league during the regular season so if they didn't get the matchup they wanted in the Finals they would still have a product people were at least somewhat used to?
This goes beyond TV ratings. Teams that struggle in attendance often have their best draws of the year when the Lakers or Celtics come to town. Obviously Boston and LA are big towns and have teams that have been around forever but at the same time are the teams that everyone sees on TNT and are first up on SportsCenter. However, these teams don't need the help as they are already popular teams. If more teams received national coverage wouldn't that help drive attendance a bit when Chris Paul and the Hornets come to play the Bobcats?
In summary, it might be nice for the ratings and the pockets of Stern and Co. and ABC right now for only a select few teams to be on display, but for the overall health and longevity of the NBA, they would be better served to display their entire product.