Does The NBA Favor Larger Market Teams Being In The Finals?

  • Frank Santos

Since the 1980 NBA Finals (including this year) there have been 34 championships decided. Ironically, during this time four of the largest media markets in the United States have hosted 32 of the last 34 NBA Finals.

According to Station Index The Broadcasting Web Site the four largest media markets in the United States are: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, & Dallas, but for the simplicity of this article I will include the entire state of Texas as the fourth largest media market which has an enormous population with approximately 26 million people, according to Texas Quick Facts.

Is it a coincidence “The Big Three” banded together in a big market like Miami, instead of Cleveland or Toronto?
Photo Credit: Masslive.com/AP

The Los Angeles Lakers have appeared in the NBA Finals 16 times since 1980. The New York Knicks (as well as their former neighbors across the bridge the New Jersey Nets of 2002 and 2003) have appeared in a combined four NBA Finals. The Chicago Bulls have appeared in six NBA Finals over the last 34 seasons. All of the NBA teams in the state of Texas (The Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs) have played in a combined 11 NBA Finals since 1980. The only two times over the last 34 seasons in which teams that were not from one of the top four media markets mentioned above appeared in the Finals was in the 1990 (Portland Trail Blazers vs. Detroit Pistons) and 2012 (Miami Heat vs. Oklahoma City Thunder) NBA Finals. But even in those two Finals, Detroit and Miami are still two cities that are in the top 20 media markets.

While some may classify the San Antonio Spurs as a small market team, they are still in the state of Texas which comprises a large market as a whole. Now I understand the enormous revenue stream that can be generated from having an NBA Finals in one of the larger media markets. With tickets for the 2013 NBA Finals going for as high as $25,000 a seat in Miami, it’s quite understandable from a business aspect why you would want a city like New York, Los Angeles or Chicago in the Finals year after year.

I just wanted to shed light on the issue of the larger markets having a dominant presence in the NBA Finals since 1980. Maybe this is just a coincidence; maybe it’s not.

It should come as no surprise that the NBA is priming the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers as up-and-coming contenders, with the potential of possibly making an NBA Finals appearance in this decade. Think about this, if the New Jersey Nets had moved to a smaller media market instead of Brooklyn, such as Pittsburgh, Tampa, or Kansas City, do you think they would receive all of this media attention and push from the league?

No matter where you may stand on this issue there can be no denying the fact that the larger media markets seem to be favored by the NBA for more reasons than one and clearly enormous financial profits is a major component.

By: Rocky- Pass the Pill Contributor

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