The NBA has not had any brawls since the December 16 dustup in New York, and bored fans are beginning seek their thrills elsewhere. Television viewership peaked when the Nuggets and Knicks had their slugfest, but has been dropping steadily ever since. Teams with no record of mayhem on the court are having trouble selling tickets. With several months of meaningless games remaining before the post-season, the NBA is scrambling to bring the fans back.
Many fans are attracted to the NBA because it offers the potential of a more thrilling type of violence than other professional sports. "The best the NFL can do is get Terrell Owens to spit on a guy," says Knicks fan Delbert Freeley, "what a joke." Basketball players have easy access to the stands, meaning fans with good seats can be part of the fun. According to Dr. Gifford Goldman of the Yale School of Sports Sociology, "The NBA fan dreams of participating in the action and slugging it out with an all-star. The chance to beat the crap out of a guy making millions is very attractive."
Many observers believe that Major League Baseball's donnybrooks have become excessively sissified, causing a dramatic drop in the game's popularity. NASCAR, which offers the opportunity to see somebody killed right before your eyes, is booming.
NBA owners are considering rule changes to increase the chances of fisticuffs breaking out. Allowing each player 12 fouls per game is under serious review. Hiring actors to play loudmouth fans who then get beat up by irate players is another option. Officials are also working closely with World Wrestling Entertainment to find ways to enhance the NBA experience.