Sports

Here’s How Many People Watched LaVar Ball’s Basketball League

William Boyd Contributor

LaVar Ball’s Junior Basketball Association started on Thursday night streamed only on Facebook. The viewership for the league was pleasantly surprising.

At one point, the games being streamed live on Facebook had around 25,000 viewers during the game, and ended the broadcast with a little more than 390,000 views on the very first game of the season. The next game, in which LaMelo Ball played, had just under 500,000 views. These are fairly good ratings for the first game of the season. That’s more viewers than “Get Up” could get for last week’s Thursday and Friday shows. As LaVar Ball continues to talk about this league, I bet it will get more viewers as the season progresses. Surprisingly, LiAngelo Ball was with his dad during these games, electing to skip watching the draft. Ball would eventually go undrafted.

LaMelo had a fantastic night, scoring 40 points and tallying 11 rebounds and 9 assists. LaMelo was obviously the main attraction at that game, and based on the stat line he definitely lived up to the hype. LaMelo’s team is back in action Sunday night against Seattle.

LaVar had as much sponsorship for the Big Baller Brand as possible during the broadcast. Whether it was on the court, or in the highlights, he wanted to make sure the triple Bs were prevalent in his new league. They’ve got quite the brand recognition, but aside from LaMelo Ball, there are no really big names in the JBA. Of course, these kids are teenagers, but there’s not much name recognition going into the league. That’s one thing that might hurt the viewership.

But, for a first game, this is a good start for the league. I’m not entirely convinced that this isn’t just another way for LaVar to get his son playing time on his own accord, but it is a great business plan nonetheless. The quality of play will improve as everyone gets used to their teams, and maybe they will move the streams off of Facebook. The eight-team league plays almost every other day leading all the way through July 5. They have a jam-packed schedule for this first “round” of games, with the second round starting July 12. The league will conclude in mid-August with all the teams making the playoffs. Keep a look out for this league, because it might start to make some noise once playoff time comes around.