Last night when I turned on the NBA draft, I heard the fans in attendance 'boo' commissioner David Stern every time he came on stage. To be honest, I do not understand it. The only reasonable assumption I have for the fans displeasure with Stern are the conspiracy theories of a 'rigged' draft order and playoff officiating. To clarify, there are no conspiracies in the NBA that have any truth (please feel free to argue). In fact, Stern has done a good job since taking over the NBA in 1984.
Creation of the WNBA
In April 1996 David Stern oversaw the creation of the WNBA to start play in June of 1997. Although many complain about the WNBA today, this was a great move to help promote the NBA and reach out to a larger target market. In the first season of the WNBA they obtained broadcast partnerships with NBC, ESPN and Lifetime. In that initial season over the three networks the WNBA saw over 50 million viewers turn on the games. 2001 was a big year for the WNBA, they saw ESPN2 jump on board to televise games and for the first time ESPN televised the draft. The games in 2001 were televised to 60 million people in 167 countries in 23 different languages. The WNBA has seen a drastic rise in viewership since they first played a game. Helping to form the WNBA was a gr
When Stern's run as commissioner of the NBA is ended he should be most remembered for his desire and success in expanding the NBA through America and globally. In America, it is key to reach into younger markets, this is exactly what Stern has done. In 2012, TNT saw its highest rated regular season in its 28 year relationship with the NBA. The audience of young adults between 18-34 increased 13 percent on TNT this year. The increase in young fans may be from successful social media campaigns. The NBA expansion throughout the globe is exemplified by the 2012 NBA finals. The NBA finals were viewed from 215 countries in 47 different languages. Of the 90 international outlets that air the NBA finals, 14 of them did it this year for the first time. The large scale globalization will continue next season. Stern has planned for the Mavericks and Celtics to play preseason games in early October throughout Europe. Some of the cities include Milan, Istanbul, and Berlin.
Also notable was Stern's impact in helping to create the salary cap. This helped smaller market teams compete for championships.
The way David Stern laughed off the criticism he received last night was fitting. I can only hope that once Stern leaves the NBA that fans will realize all that he has done for the league, I have.
Statistics from WNBA.com, ESPN.com, Forbes.com