Commissioner Silver ended his media availability talking about the NBA's TV ratings. He said that there's major interest in the league as a product, but acknowledged some structural issues regarding how games are consumed today.
As he does every year, NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the media at All-Star Weekend in Chicago on Saturday night. Silver provided an update on the status of the league -- both on and off of the court -- and then took questions from media members. As commissioner, Silver is always looking for ways to improve the product that the league puts out, and that was clear in his comments.
Silver's availability, which he began by paying tribute to David Stern and Kobe Bryant, lasted over half an hour during which time he touched on a wide variety of topics, including the current status of the league's relationship with China, the potential addition of a midseason tournament, potential changes to the league's regular season and playoff schedule, and the.
One of the main takeaways from the press conference was the fact that the league hasafter Bryant. The award will now officially be called the Kia NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award, and it will be handed out for the first time on Sunday night. Considering the universal respect that the league's players have for Bryant, it's safe to say that this is an award that players will want to win.
"Kobe Bryant is synonymous with NBA All-Star and embodies the spirit of this global celebration of our game," Silver said. "He always relished the opportunity to compete with the best of the best and perform at the highest level for millions of fans around the world."
As far as the league's relationship with China, well, let's just say it's still a work in progress. Silver said that NBA games in China are not back on CCTV, but he is optimistic that they will be in the not-too-distant future. He also noted the league still has a strong fan base in China. Silver acknowledged that the financial fallout from the issues with China has cost the league hundreds of millions of dollars, though not near a billion dollars as some reports suggested.
As far as the league's declining television ratings, Silver said that there's still massive interest in the NBA as a product, but he cited injury issues, along with a disconnect with younger viewers who don't watch traditional television as main issues in the NBA's declining television ratings, though he called the dip in ratings a "solvable" problem. Silver also said that he is still optimistic that the NBA will indeed introduce a midseason tournament in the future, as well as play-in games for postseason berths, and he acknowledged that the league will continue to discuss ways to improve the regular season, although no such changes are imminent.