Analysts have already pointed out that this year’s NBA Finals are far less watched than the previous two NBA Finals. Many fans would point this blame to the Spurs style of play and rightfully so. The Heat have been a participant in all three of the past NBA Finals so it would appear they are not the cause of this issue. Regardless of who is to blame, they both have earned the position they are in and are no more than two games away from one of the greatest accomplishments a professional athlete can achieve.
% Increase / Decrease in Viewers for 2013 NBA Finals
Game 1 Viewers
Game 2 Viewers
Game 3 Viewers
Game 4 Viewers
Game 5 Viewers
While this series may have fewer viewers, I’m certain that there is another “fan” who usually closely watches sporting events who will also be skipping this year’s Finals – the tax man. As I have previously mentioned, professional athletes pay state income taxes in each state they “earn” those wages. For example, when the Boston Celtics played on Christmas Day at the Brooklyn Nets, the State of New York deemed all of the Celtic’s players to have earned a percentage of their salary in the state of New York and sent them a tax bill accordingly. This tactic is commonly called the “jock tax” and includes the playoffs. The “jock tax” was actually created in 1991 when Lakers fans were upset that Michael Jordan kept winning playoff games in their state. California began taxing Michael Jordan for playoff games in their state and now many states and even cities have followed suit.
Our favorite super fan – the tax man- is skipping this year’s finals because neither Florida nor Texas have state income taxes. Both teams residing in states without state income taxes has only happened three other times* since the inception of the “jock tax”. This means that the $1.5 million dollars and the $2.3 million dollars that will be split respectively among the NBA Finals losing and winning team will go state income tax free.**
So if you decide to tune the TV to a new Deadliest Catch, or the finals of The Voice, worry not, you won’t be the only one. Hey - even the “tax man” will be occupied – the US Soccer team plays Honduras for World Cup Qualifying in Utah (on ESPN 8:30pm) where there is a 5% income tax rate.
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