With a players-owners dispute now entering its fifth month, a new poll finds that most Americans do not miss NBA games.
Though the NBA lockout has upset the league's most dedicated fans, 76 percent of those polled by Pollposition.com unequivocally stated they are not lamenting the NBA season's November loss.
Poll Position conducted the national telephone survey on Nov. 6, five days after the regular season was originally scheduled to begin and weeks after all November games were officially canceled. Pollsters contacted 1,179 registered voters and the results are striking.
Not surprisingly, the youngest polled responded they miss games at a higher rate than any other demographic, as 28.5 percent of respondents 18 to 29 years of age said they miss the NBA games. Less than eight percent of those aged 30 or older said they miss professional basketball.
Similarly, a higher proportion of males said they miss basketball (15.3 percent of men to 8.3 percent of females)
Across political lines, 15.3 percent of Democrat respondents said they missed basketball, compared to 10.3 percent of Republicans and 9.3 percent of Independents.
As polls tend to do, the results were also broken down by race. Over one-fourth of blacks responded they miss the NBA, while 18.2 percent of Hispanics agreed. And 8.2 percent of whites said they find themselves missing the games, while only 5.2 percent of all other races responded that they miss the NBA.
The poll has a margin of error of plus/minus three percent and did not ask respondents why they do or do not miss the games.
With college football and the NFL, many fans have simply turned to other sports to fill the void left by basketball's top league.
With college basketball revving up later this month, basketball fans will have domestic alternatives to the shuttered NBA, while the opportunity to watch stars playing overseas is also an appealing option.
No wonder 76 percent don't miss basketball.
Or do they?
With 1,176 individuals polled, did researchers rely on too small a sample size? Are registered voters less likely to be NBA fans than those not registered to vote? Do most Americans dislike sports in general?
Or is America simply getting tired of this drawn-out labor dispute?
Poll Position insists its polls are scientifically conducted, accurate and may be generalized to the national population. Its polling methodology certainly backs up its claims and sufficiently verifies its NBA poll's reliability.
Poll Position reached out to the average American, not to any specific subsection of society. If it had exclusively polled Bleacher Report readers, for instance, chances are that more than just 24 percent of us would have responded that we miss NBA games.
For commissioner David Stern and the other power names in professional basketball, this is a frightening revelation. Even assuming a maximum margin of error, a full 76 percent of Americans simply don't care that the NBA season is not being played.
That's a huge figure.
If the sports community were to take only one lesson away from this eye-opening news, it would be this:
The NBA, its owners and its players must figure out a way to resolve their dispute, or risk alienating the average American for a long, long time.