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Hate of Mondays, Patterns in All-Time NBA Schedule

15 Dec

When I collect a lot of data for one topic spin-off ideas are almost inevitable because by that time the hardest part is already finished and the only thing left is [additional and unrelated] cherry at the top ;-)
Last post about Journey through Miles of NBA Travel History wasn’t the exception. To measure distance I needed a schedule… and with that information in place why not analyze NBA’s schedule itself?

Here are some basic total numbers and facts about it from 1951-52 to 2010-11:

Weekday Total Games Season’s Start Day Season Season’s End Day
Monday 6432 Wed Oct 27 2011 Wed Apr 13
Tuesday 16690 Wed Oct 28 2010 Wed Apr 14
Wednesday 16966 Wed Oct 29 2009 Wed Apr 15
Thursday 9108 Fri Nov 2 2008 Wed Apr 16
Friday 18606 Wed Nov 1 2007 Wed Apr 18
Saturday 16890 Wed Nov 2 2006 Wed Apr 19
Sunday 12980 Wed Nov 3 2005 Wed Apr 20
Wed Oct 29 2004 Wed Apr 14
Month Total Games Wed Oct 30 2003 Wed Apr 16
October 3148 Tue Oct 30 2002 Tue Apr 16
November 16744 Tue Oct 31 2001 Wed Apr 18
December 17274 Tue Nov 2 2000 Wed Apr 19
January 17938 Fri Feb 5 1999 Wed May 5
February 16184 Fri Oct 31 1998 Sat Apr 18
March 17654 Fri Nov 1 1997 Sun Apr 20
April 8642 Fri Nov 3 1996 Sun Apr 21
May 88 Fri Nov 4 1995 Sun Apr 23
Fri Nov 5 1994 Sun Apr 24
Month Adj per 30 Fri Nov 6 1993 Sun Apr 25
October 3046 Sat Nov 2 1992 Sat Apr 18
November 16744 Fri Nov 2 1991 Sun Apr 21
December 16717 Fri Nov 3 1990 Sun Apr 22
January 17359 Fri Nov 4 1989 Sun Apr 23
February 17187 Fri Nov 6 1988 Sat Apr 23
March 17085 Sat Nov 1 1987 Sun Apr 19
April 8642 Fri Oct 25 1986 Sun Apr 13
May 85 Fri Oct 26 1985 Sat Apr 13
Fri Oct 28 1984 Sat Apr 14
Day of Month Total Games Fri Oct 29 1983 Sun Apr 17
1 2948 Sat Oct 31 1982 Sun Apr 18
2 3490 Sat Oct 11 1981 Sun Mar 29
3 3270 Fri Oct 12 1980 Sun Mar 30
4 3378 Fri Oct 13 1979 Sun Apr 8
5 3448 Sat Oct 22 1978 Sun Apr 9
6 3414 Thu Oct 21 1977 Sun Apr 10
7 3274 Thu Oct 23 1976 Sun Apr 11
8 3376 Fri Oct 18 1975 Sun Apr 6
9 3254 Tue Oct 9 1974 Tue Mar 26
10 3316 Tue Oct 10 1973 Wed Mar 28
11 3354 Tue Oct 12 1972 Sun Mar 26
12 3268 Sat Oct 17 1971 Sun Mar 21
13 3294 Wed Oct 15 1970 Sun Mar 22
14 3402 Wed Oct 16 1969 Sat Mar 22
15 3356 Wed Oct 18 1968 Sat Mar 16
16 3292 Sat Oct 15 1967 Sat Mar 18
17 3392 Sat Oct 16 1966 Tue Mar 22
18 3208 Sat Oct 17 1965 Sun Mar 21
19 3242 Wed Oct 16 1964 Wed Mar 18
20 3112 Sat Oct 20 1963 Sun Mar 17
21 3216 Sat Oct 21 1962 Wed Mar 14
22 3096 Sat Oct 22 1961 Sun Mar 12
23 3176 Sat Oct 17 1960 Wed Mar 9
24 2560 Sat Oct 25 1959 Wed Mar 11
25 2854 Tue Oct 22 1958 Wed Mar 12
26 3438 Sat Oct 27 1957 Wed Mar 13
27 3054 Sat Nov 5 1956 Wed Mar 14
28 3074 Sat Oct 30 1955 Sun Mar 13
29 2764 Sat Oct 31 1954 Sun Mar 14
30 2728 Sat Nov 1 1953 Tue Mar 17
31 1624 Thu Nov 1 1952 Sun Mar 16

We can easily observe some patterns here, for example:

1) NBA Truly Hates Mondays.

Not only on Mondays there was by far the least amount of games played but also NBA season usually starts just after this day.
Obviously those facts are related but even if we adjust start of every season, Mondays still would be the least favorite day for the NBA. Was Monday the worst day to attract customers?

2) NBA isn’t a fan of Sundays and Thursdays either.

Sundays were, are and probably always will be reserved for football so that’s understandable to limit games but what’s wrong with Thursdays? Does NBA save some games for Fridays? Speaking of which…

3) The most games in NBA history were played on Friday.

OK, that’s actually not a surprise so let’s move on… to the possible explanation for three aforementioned points. Here’s a graph with historical Percentage of NBA Games Played on each Weekday:

Percentage of NBA Games Played on each weekday

OK, so more accurate would be to say “NBA Hated Mondays” ;-)
Also Thursdays really took a hit 8 years ago. Was it a move to accommodate some wishes from TV?
Speaking of which…

4) The most busy month was January followed by February and March.

Is this another influence of NFL? NBA moved into higher gear around the time when football was slowing down [at least in terms of number of games played]… this can’t be coincidence, can it?

5) Favorite day to start a season changed through time.

In the first two decades it was Saturday, in the next three Friday and in recent ones it has been Wednesday.
That’s probably related to number of games played so NBA could finish it’s schedule at desired date.

Finally, if you want to be really hardcore… here’s a Breakdown of Percentage of NBA Games Played on each Day for each City/Team where highlights are:
- It’s true that Utah tries to avoid games on Sundays.
It’s also a reason why they play a lot games on Mondays.
- perennial winners like Lakers and Celtics played often on Sundays.

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2 Comments

Posted by on December 15, 2011 in Expanding Horizons

 

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2 responses to “Hate of Mondays, Patterns in All-Time NBA Schedule

  1. Anonymous

    December 21, 2011 at 20:24

    Explanation of game days is simple: reason for relaxed Mondays and Thursdays is the weekend schedule. Friday through Sunday is the easiest time to get people in front of the TV, and it’s probably connected to price of commercials. So Mon and Thu need to be more relaxed days in in order not to create 3 games in 4 nights problems too often.

     

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