If competition is what makes sports compelling for fans, then the NBA's 2018-19 season is set up to be a real snooze.
NBA free agents have been taking their talents to new locales for big bucks since the free agency period began Sunday. LeBron James' decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and join the Los Angeles Lakers late Sunday was expected to be the biggest free agency bombshell of the summer.
And then Boogie happened.
DeMarcus 'Boogie' Cousins shocked the NBA and social media worlds on Monday night when the four-time All-Star decided to join the recently-crowned NBA champion Golden State Warriors. The Warriors now have a staggering five All-Stars on their team.
So essentially The Warriors....who've won 3 of the last 4 NBA titles...have swapped out Javale McGee for Boogie Cousins. Good luck to the other 29 teams— trey wingo (@wingoz) July 3, 2018
Every NBA team after seeing the Boogie Cousins signing pic.twitter.com/BOZBRu39mv— Peters (@mike_tweeters) July 3, 2018
"It's probably more good than bad," John Aceti of SportsBusiness Daily told TheStreet. "You'll probably get more people watching the national TV games just to see this super team. Regional viewership may suffer, but national games featuring the Warriors will do well."
The ratings from the most recent NBA season lends credence to that thought process. Former MVP Kevin Durant's arrival in California to play for the Warriors two seasons ago helped spark interest in the slog that is the NBA's 82-game regular season.
Regular season viewership was up 8% during the 2017-2018 season, bringing the league its best ratings in five years. The NBA's newest TV deal with ESPN (DIS) and TNT (T) will pay the league $24 billion over the next nine years and the league saw revenue increase 25% this past season to $7.4 billion.
However, a fourth straight year of the Golden State Warriors facing the Cleveland Cavaliers resulted in a dip in ratings for the NBA Finals. This year's NBA Finals averaged 17.55 million viewers, a 14% decline from last year's 20.4 million viewer average, according to Sports Media Watch.
Whether that trend will continue with this new Golden State superteam that is all but guaranteed to be in the Finals once again remains to be seen. But fans are already voicing their displeasure.
Yesterday the impossible happened....
The NBA got even dumber and even more boring.— Evil Mike Tomlin (@EvilMikeTomlin) July 3, 2018
R.I.P. NBA pic.twitter.com/6qbLBvxIMm— Doctor NBA (@DoctorNBA) July 3, 2018
Aceti believes that the initial concerns are overblown, though.
"Everyone is going to tune into the finals to see a team with Steph (Curry), KD (Durant), Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and now Boogie," Aceti said. "The Warriors are going to be must-see television."