Your sports analysis is interesting.
Comparing MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, etc, one thing is glaringly obvious to me. The NFL is the only major US sports league that broadcasts most of its games on free TV. For the others, you need satellite TV or cable.
But, other than that, they all seem to be thriving. They all fill the seats.
Lots of people watch Tennis, Golf and Auto Racing too.
I think it makes sense. Sports is live entertainment. Sitcoms are artificial and canned. Hence people go for pro sports and reality shows. Even if they are sometimes ridiculous, pro sports and reality shows are (somewhat) live entertainment.
PS--Yes, I grew up in eastern PA. Not Scranton. Allentown. People there are Eagles, Sixers and Phillies fans. But I grew up a GIANTS, Knicks and Phillies fan. I watched the Mets on TV too. And we all (most of us) hated the Yankees. But I lost interest in the Knicks, especially in the Isaiah Thomas years (and even before that). But it is still cool to see Walt Frazier sitting courtside, broadcasting the Knicks games.