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Sunday, May 19
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Long playoffs reduce excitement

Many NBA stars refer to the playoffs as the "second-season" -- a description meant to imply that the slate is wiped clean and focus is regathered. But perhaps the players give it a different meaning. Perhaps they are referring to the length of the post-season, which feels more and more like the regular season.\nAbout 55 percent of teams get to play in the playoffs. But the more frustrating issue is that a winner will not be crowned until mid-June.\nThe first of four NBA playoff rounds began last Saturday and will conclude a week from tomorrow. That means 12 days to play five games.\nThe obvious reason for extending the season is for television revenue. The league will do just about anything to get as many weekend games as possible, even if it means playing just one game during the week.\nTake the Philadelphia/Indiana series. Game one was played Saturday and game two was played three days later. Both games were played in Philadelphia, so there was no need for travel.\nThree days seems like a long time, but the break between games two and three is four days. At that point, the series will be eight days old, with only three games finished. \nWhen scheduling the post-season, the league is afraid there could be a sweep; top teams would idle while they awaited their next opponents.\nAttention spans wane when the playoffs drag on for weeks. Fans across America (and the world, for that matter) stop caring. Storylines build and fall apart because so much time passes.\nThe playoffs are a time of focus and commitment from the players and the fans, but keeping focus for so long is difficult. Ratings for the NBA Finals have been low during the past few years, as people have lost interest by that point.\nThe league wants as many weekend games as possible. This boosts ratings for the early playoff games, but decreases them for later rounds. \nThe NBA needs to work on condensing the playoff schedule, for the sake of keeping fans interested and keeping players focused. The longer it lasts, the more like the regular season it becomes, and the less exciting it seems.\nThe NBA playoffs are full of exciting potential. The best players and teams are battling for the annual crown in a sport the entire world embraces. Playing series allows for drama and rivalries to build between two teams. But the league has spread the excitement too thin in the name of higher television revenues, a practice that works against the best interest of the players and fans.

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