NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 04: NBA Commissioner David Stern speaks at a press conference after NBA labor negotiations at The Westin Times Square on October 4, 2011 in New York City. Stern announced the NBA has canceled the remainder of the preseason and will cancel the first two weeks of the regular season if there is no labor agreement by Monday. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Want to hear something a little scary? Major League Soccer is now more popular that the National Basketball Association, in terms of attendance. What does this mean for David Stern and the NBA? They need to get their act together. Now.
You want to hear something scary? Major League Soccer is now more popular than the National Basketball Association, at least in terms of attendance. I'll just let that statement sink in for a minute.
MLS attendance has grown 6.6 percent this season and teams are averaging 17,870 fans per match this year, helping to boost it to the third most popular sport based on attendance in the United States.
Just think about that. Basketball, a true-blue American sport, is now being beaten out by that sport that we only cared about when the World Cup rolled around as a matter of national pride.
This says a lot of things. First, it shows that the culture is changing in America, something we've known for quite a while. As more and more immigrants come to the United States, they bring their interests with them, and many of them take a keen interest in soccer. Ergo, they'll more likely follow soccer than another sport.
But this also delivers a strong message to the NBA. That message? Wake up, guys.
David Stern, Billy Hunter, Derek Fisher. Wake up and get your act together. People just aren't going to sit around and wait for your sport to work out its squabbles over millions upon millions of dollars. It doesn't work that way.
This is America, a country that lives on the McDonald's mentality of getting everything instantly. If it isn't put in front of you immediately, it might as well not be worth it at all. And above all, we're not to keen of greedy millionaires and billionaires. And in reality, that's what we're dealing with here.
If the NBA's owners and players don't understand that, then they risk falling further behind the pack. While the NBA will never be the NFL - which leads all American sports with an average attendance of 66,950 per game - in popularity.
But that certainly doesn't mean that it shouldn't be more popular that soccer in America. Think about that on a local level - it's like saying the New England Revolution are more popular than the Boston Celtics. Crazy, right? While that isn't the case in Boston, it certainly is the case around the country.
And it really, really shouldn't be that way. In truth, it really doesn't have to be, either. If the NBA's players and owners can get off their keisters and leave their egos at the door, this lockout could be over and I bet the league would return to its No. 3 status in America behind the NFL and NBA.
Yet if millionaires continue to fight over millions of dollars, a lot of your former fans may not be waiting on the other end, and soccer will be more popular than basketball in this country. I don't want to live in that world. Do you?