Adam Silver Touts Int'l Growth As Way For NBA To Challenge NFL's Popularity
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is "primed to attack his new job with all the ferocity of a LeBron James dunk," according to Sam Amick of USA TODAY. Tell Silver that it is "impossible to have the kind of impact" David Stern had -- growing annual revenues from $156M to $5.6B -- and he will "respectfully disagree and offer sound arguments to the contrary." Silver said, "I have a set of tools available to me that David couldn't even have imagined." He added, "The U.S. is less than 5% of the world's population. So when I look at markets like the billion people in Africa, the over billion people that live in India, the (1.3 billion) that live in China, just those markets alone where we're just barely scratching the surface, there is so much opportunity out there for us. ... I'm also very focused on growing the game in the U.S. I see enormous upside, both in consumption of new media; largely digital media -- but just as importantly, for conventional television." Silver even expects to "go after the NFL's position as the country's most popular and profitable sports league." He said, "I look at the enormous gap between NFL ratings and NBA ratings and see enormous room for growth." Meanwhile, Silver also addressed the minimum age for NBA players. He said that instead of the "current rule that players must be at least 19-year-old, he'd like to raise it to 20." He also said of changing the draft lottery system, "I'm not ready to declare it broken yet, but it's worthy of study" (USA TODAY, 2/14). In New Orleans, Jimmy Smith wrote, "No longer is Silver Stern's wing man; the stick is in his hands." Silver's main concern moving forward "admittedly is to build upon the foundation he has inherited." Silver said, "Most importantly, I want to focus on the game. I know the game is at the center. And I don't just mean the NBA game. Basketball is at the center of everything we do at the league" (NOLA.com, 2/13).
A FRIENDLY COMPETITION: Silver said of the possibility of the NBA challenging the NFL in ratings and popularity, "When I said there that it's my dream that we should rival the NFL in popularity, by no means am I suggesting that it comes at the expense of the NFL because all of the research I look at shows that virtually all sports fans are fans of multiple sports. ... The strongest part of our season begins essentially after the NFL season is over. We overlap to a certain extent, but we know that when you get towards the second half of the season, moving into All-Star, and then driving into the playoffs and ultimately the Finals, that's where we get our largest viewership" (USATODAY.com, 2/13).