Basketball fans were given a bit of exciting news Thursday when the NBA announced its plan to resume play on July 31 after months of coronavirus-induced hiatus.
But it appears that not all NBA fans are reacting positively to the league’s plan for a quick wrap-up to the regular season, with the top 22 teams playing eight more games each for a spot in the 16-team playoff field.
According to a CivicScience survey conducted June 5, a strong two-thirds majority (66%) of NBA fans said they either “strongly support” or “somewhat support” the league’s plan.
But compare that with the overwhelming 81% of NHL fans who said last week that they support the hockey league’s mid-pandemic playoff plans.
The reason for the difference may be in the makeup of the two fanbases. Since May 17, NHL fans have been more likely than NBA fans to say they’d resume their normal daily activities right away if / when their state and local economies reopened.
It remains to be seen whether this philosophical difference between NBA fans and NHL fans will lead to one sport being watched more than the other, though, when all is said and done. CivicScience will keep an eye on viewership numbers as sports leagues begin to reopen.
There is one thing that both leagues have in common, though: a fan of either league is way more likely to support resuming play if they have personally played fantasy sports. In fact, nearly half (45%) of those who haven’t played fantasy sports say they oppose the NBA’s season reboot.
CivicScience will continue to monitor the reopening process for sports leagues as the nation emerges from coronavirus lockdowns.