Sports

LeBron on why NFL has taken a hit in viewership

LeBron cites fun factor as possible reason America's 
No. 1 sport has taken a hit in viewership

Cleveland Cavaliers superstar 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.

James said he had enjoyed seeing his favourite NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys, win 35-10 over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, before appearing at a campaign rally for US Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

But he noted how several top NFL players have said it is more and more becoming the "No Fun League" and that could be a factor in drops of about 18 or 19 per cent on Sunday and Thursday and nearly 25 per cent on Mondays.

Said the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player: "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."

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 their first crown since 1948 in a seven-game thriller that went extra innings in the final game.

PUSH

"Baseball, it needed a push and, with the play-offs 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 Mid-western sports teams helped as well and then the games in general."

Last season, the NBA had the highest ratings since Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls were a 1990s dynasty, with James and his teammates making the greatest rally in Finals history against the Golden State Warriors, recovering from 3-1 down to win a best-of-seven series, just as the Cubs did.

"Our sport has done some great things over the last couple of years as far as the play-offs, 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."

The NFL remains America's No. 1 sport, though, and James wouldn't declare it could be surpassed by its top sporting rivals for the country's affection.

"I don't want to talk about a shift, things of that nature," James said.

"I just know what has happened in our sport and I get a sense of what has happened in baseball." - AFP.

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