NBA Finals & NHL Stanley Cup Final Make a Case For New Harris Poll

2 Cent Tuesday sports blogToday’s 2 Cent Tuesday blog brings me back to a story I came across in early 2014. Now, 18 months later, I still have difficulty in believing what I read.

Last year, ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell cited a Harris Poll that broke down American sports fans’ favorite sports.

Upon reading Rovell’s article, I was surprised to learn how low the Harris Poll recorded NBA and NHL percentages. It captured my curiosity.

Though not at all moved that the NFL dominated the poll, I found it a stretch to swallow that auto racing, yes auto racing, trumped both the NBA and NHL in American sports preferences.

In recalling Rovell’s piece, it prompted me to voice my invaluable 2 cents!

After polling thousands of Americans across all demographics 18 years and older, the Harris Poll reported that American sports fans’ favorite sports were as follow: NFL at 35%, MLB at 14%, NCAA College Football at 11%, auto racing at 7%, NBA at 6%, NHL at 5% and NCAA College Basketball at 3%.

Fast forward 18 months since Rovell penned his piece, I still find this data hard to fathom – especially in light of what I’m witnessing in this year’s NBA Finals and NHL Stanley Cup Final.

That’s because both series have exceeded my expectation in every way. I’m confident that countless American sports fans agree, and I’m convinced that they would admit likewise if Harris came knocking on their door anytime soon to conduct an updated sports poll.

The NBA Finals pits the league’s most dominant team – the Golden State Warriors – featuring league MVP Stephen Curry against a beleaguered, injury riddled squad – the Cleveland Cavaliers – led by the best basketball player in the world.

This year’s NBA Finals is rich with stories involving a hero returning home (LeBron James), an unfortunate injury to a rising NBA superstar (Kyrie Irving), a scrappy overachieving, undrafted guard (Matthew Dellavedova), rookie coaches (Steve Kerr & David Blatt), hard nose defense (Draymon Green) and nail-biting basketball.

As far as NBA Playoffs basketball goes, this series is tough to top. Plus, few people outside of Northern California aren’t rooting for the championship starved and often maligned city of Cleveland.

The NHL Stanley Cup Final has offered just as much excitement, intrigue and outstanding play for sports crazed Americans to enjoy.

It’s also birthed ample, overcoming stories involving young players from the sun kissed, overlooked hockey market of Tampa, Florida and more wily vets from the storied franchise based in the Windy City.

What sports fan can’t relish the tenacity that the Lightning and Blackhawks have exhibited in this Stanley Cup Final?

Talk about putting it all on the line while playing with such passion and purpose knowing that 6’5” defensemen seek to splatter you into the boards!

Each professional sport’s championship series is a testament to the quality of its sport. The speed, skill and excellence at which each high pressure game in each final has been played warrant a new Harris Poll as well as an updated article from ESPN’s Rovell.

That’s because higher fan favorite figures seem like a breakaway dunk or an open net goal to me.

And, that’s my 2 cents.

MIKE on sports!

MIKE Sports Comic: Hockey Footer

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