The NBA’s constant growth in popularity


The NBA is accumulating an increasing amount of fans year after year and with that, television figures and demand for streaming are constantly increasing.

Last year’s playoffs offered plenty of drama, including the Dallas Mavericks’ comeback against the Phoenix Suns, which was major news around the sporting world.

The Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics also brought in a huge viewership not just in the United States but also in the United Kingdom, with the series being broadcast on Sky Sports. The Heat and the Celtics played out a mesmerizing series that was incredibly competitive and ridiculously tough to call throughout.

NBA fixtures are regularly broadcasted on UK TV now, and as a result, fans from the region are increasing massively, with supporters of all NBA teams emerging.

Growth in the UK

The NBA Finals offering high-frequency drama certainly made many UK watchers become fans of the league despite basketball not being one of the most popular sports in the nation. , with it being clear that big events are often behind a surge in stream searches. 

Peak sporting events often bridge into mainstream news, and that was certainly the case with the NBA Finals last year as people all around the world, fans of the sport or not, heard about how the Golden State Warriors became NBA champions despite losing two of the first three games.

In terms of viewership across the US, the Warriors’ Finals victory over the Celtics peaked at 16.82 million viewers and achieved a 22% increase in viewers compared to the previous year, demonstrating the fast-growing popularity of the NBA.

In the 2021/22 season, in terms of the UK specifically, Sky Sports saw a 58% increase in viewership and a 42% increase in viewing figures of NBA Sundays.

Basketball has always been one of the most popular sports in the US, but in the UK, it has grown enormously in the past few years, and this is only likely to increase, especially when players with UK connections are involved this season.

Efforts for worldwide growth

The NBA League Pass allows viewers across the globe to watch any NBA fixture, as well as offering a catalogue of past fixtures for a subscription fee. 

Just a few years back, the NBA was only available on US cable TV, and it was a sport that overseas fans could not just simply stumble across; efforts to make the league available for people across the world to watch have unlocked the inevitable growth of the sport.

Europe’s most popular sports, such as soccer and rugby, are fast-paced, but basketball takes that to another level with shot clocks, fast transitions and constant point scoring. It is no surprise that fans from Europe and the wider world are taking so quickly to the game.

The appetite for the league is evidenced further through the NBA Global Games, which will see two regular season games held in Mexico City and Paris in the 22/23 season.