Why NBA on ABC Wednesday Failed
One main reason for a huge drop off in prime time
Wednesday NBA nights on ABC was a novel opportunity, seemingly with only mutual upside. There are two such nights left, but the verdict is in: The experiment tanked. The “why” can be pieced together with more specificity than a reflexive dunk on the league’s popularity. Human behavior can be unpredictable but always makes sense in retrospect.
What some people don’t get about the “ratings” topic is that it’s not about purely numerical abstractions. It’s about the numbers telling a tale of our psychology and habits, measured against the product on offer. Disney tried to change their standard ESPN Wednesday doubleheader and the customer was just too habitual. The result: ABC’s going to have its least watched NBA season, right as the NBA is negotiating its future with Disney. So what happened here?