NBA buries All-Star Weekend, misses chance to increase fan base

The starters for the Eastern and Western Conference were revealed Thursday night.

The starters that were voted for the Eastern and Western Conference.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Weekend started on Friday February 14, 2014 in the evening, one week later than in its heyday, in keeping with a trend that began in 2004. The consistent conflict with scheduling the festivities at the same time as Valentine’s Day is a missed opportunity for the NBA to promote its brightest stars. After all, even the most hardened basketball fans realize that Valentine’s Day must not compete with sports or anything else and when that day of romance falls on a weekend, all bets are off for sports.

By continuing to schedule the NBA All Star Weekend to coincide with Valentine’s Day, the NBA is demonstrating that it is unable to relate to its core fan base or that those in charge are cynical at best, or tone-deaf at worst.

The 2014 NBA All-Star weekend is held in New Orleans this year.

The 2014 NBA All-Star weekend is currently underway in New Orleans during Valentine’s Weekend.

All-Star Weekend is an excellent chance for the NBA to give the casual fan a glimpse at the best of what the league has to offer. Recent changes in the date of the All-Star Weekend festivities and the decision to broadcast the All-Star game live on Sunday night have detracted from what is usually an exciting time of the year for NBA fans. The 8:30 pm Sunday evening start time for the NBA All-Star game inhibits casual fans from tuning in to the game because numerous scripted shows with huge followings are routinely on at the same time. Additionally, the late start in the Eastern time zone makes it more difficult for the NBA to reach a wider demographic in terms of age range since the target audience may not be able to stay up late or potential viewers may have other plans for their late evening hours.

The NBA had its greatest popularity when their best players (l-r) Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley were seen in the All Star game on network TV on Sunday afternoons.

The NBA had its greatest popularity when their best players (l-r) Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley were seen in the All Star game on network TV on Sunday afternoons.

Simple tweaks to the NBA All-Star Weekend would go a long way towards the stated goal of the new NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, to “bridge the popularity gap between the NBA and the National Football League (NFL).” Moving the All-Star Weekend back a week in February to the first weekend after the Super Bowl, where it was for decades, would help avoid the Valentine’s Day dilemma that many NBA fans face.

The NBA would also benefit from changing the NBA All-Star Game back to an afternoon game on network television on Sundays, as it was during its greatest period of popularity in the 1990’s. The earlier start time would allow all basketball fans, casual or die-hard, to tune in to see the best NBA players with far less competition on television at that time. The NBA would also reach a broader demographic that may not have cable or want to stay up late to watch the games.

With all that said, this NBA fan will continue to watch the best NBA players this Sunday in the All-Star game while being thankful that the DVR and low-level All-Star festivities on Friday night created no conflict in my home on Valentine’s Day.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training specialist. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.