The very idea of sports seems strange in 2020. These games and competitions are more often than not meant as an escape for us. They are a place where we can go to get away from the trials and tribulations of life as we know it, and leave our politics at the door.
Well, at least they used to be.
These days, when the issues of the world around us loom larger than sports, these pastimes find themselves suffocated by the sheer weight of the arguments at hand. In the case of this strange, strange year known as 2020, we are already dealing with diminished playing time on account of COVID-19. That means that, now that these sports are all coign back online at approximately the same time, we are finding ourselves with a concentrated dose of major league action.
But this also means that the political subject matter that keeps creeping into sports is also concentrated, and it’s turning some viewers away.
With both baseball and basketball draped in all sorts of Black Lives Matter and social justice symbolism for their opening games, a substantially smaller number of fans tuned-in to the rest of the week’s games.
According to Outkick.com, neither league did well.
As for the opening games, Outkick reported that the return of the NBA on TNT saw the following numbers:
Lakers-Clippers: 3.4 million
Pelicans-Jazz: 2.1 million
ESPN’s MLB return numbers were also underwhelming:
Yankees-Nationals: 4.0 million
Dodgers-Giants: 2.8 million
If the NFL returns this year, (and that is a fairly large if), there are sure to be plenty of gestures on the gridiron as well.