NBA first-round ratings drop 27 percent, 40 percent since 2017-18

Sam Amico

While the end of the first round added a boost in viewership for the NBA playoffs, overall ratings were down from recent seasons, as relayed by sports-media reporter Bobby Burack of OutKick.

Overall, ratings for the now-concluded first round were down 27 percent from last season, per Nielsen. The league's ratings has also dropped 40 percent from two years ago, Burack wrote.

The first round of the playoffs were an extension of the declining ratings prior to the NBA hiatus in March. 

According to a report from Sports Business Daily in February, national television viewership for regular-season games nosedived 12 percent compared to 2018-19. Again, those were the league's pre-hiatus numbers.

On the bright side for the NBA, the Houston Rockets' Game 7 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder drew 4.1 million viewers, the most since a Los Angeles Lakers-Portland Trail Blazers game Jan. 31 drew 4.4 million.

The Rockets-Blazers Game 7, carried by ESPN, trailed only FOX News programming in Wednesday primetime cable telecasts, per ShowBuzz Daily. 

During the restart and playoffs, the NBA clearly has faced several challenges. 

For one, many of the games were broadcast during daytime hours, when viewership for all programming is down across the board.

The same holds true for all programming in the month of August, regardless of time.

That said, fans currently cannot attend games -- making television and streaming services the only way to watch. Theoretically, ratings should be up, or at least holding steady.

In comparison, the NBA has fared about as well as Major League Baseball, some nights better, some nights worse It has not done nearly as well when going head-to-head with single-day or weekend-only events such as NASCAR or golf.

Along with the actual games, much of the talk surrounding the NBA during the restart has been how it's faring on television, with no less than President Donald Trump even weighing in on the topic.

"I know their ratings have been very bad because I think people are a little tired of the NBA, frankly," Trump said on Aug. 27.

Overall, the end of the first round offered some hope for the NBA (the Denver Nuggets-Utah Jazz game was also a hit), and its desire to get more eyeballs on the product. 

But for now, it appears hope and a couple of promising Game 7s are about all that there is.

Comments (17)
No. 1-15
jama1
jama1

As long as they honor abusers of women, criminal groups, and rioters and looters, their viewership will continue to decline. That's what these fools don't get. We are CHOOSING to not watch because of this. Their kneeling and anti-American attitudes from some of the most privileged people in the world is going to backfire. So be it.

Down4Truth
Down4Truth

I don't mind a little politics in sports, but it's so over the top. These issues are filled with nuance and should be treated with the respect they deserve. But the NBA is making blanket statements that are filled with some truths and some inaccuracies, it's manipulative and frustrating and makes you want to turn the channel. And finally the last person you want to listen to are 20 something millionaires, most who have been coddled and spoiled most of their lives.

Seffy
Seffy

BLM is communism... Will never support the spread of communism in the US

DontCareAnyway
DontCareAnyway

I'm sorry, was I supposed to care what overpaid whiny racist say?

bobbymalibu
bobbymalibu

90% of my friends who are basketball fans like myself will NEVER watch another NBA game. Perhaps after LeBron retires and BLM signs are removed from the hardwood, I might tune in again but seriously doubt it.

ryanschade
ryanschade

I'm a life long NBA fanatic and I will never watch another game, buy another NBA hat or shirt. Labron (racist) James and his pile of crap subordinates(NBA players and coaches) have destroyed the sport by perpetuating lies and disrespect for the least racist country in history, the USA. Honoring criminal groups like BLM and ANTIFA, rapists of women, and kneeling in their honor by a group of anti-American whiny narcists is why we are not watching and never will again. MORONS!

ryanschade
ryanschade

And Screw you Sports Illustrated for ignoring the real story and trying to excuse their behavior. Not one word in your lying POS article about the real reason ratings are down, Lebron James leading the NBA to kneel for BLM and Antifa. You made excuses like, "It was August" or "It was daylight". Sports Illustrated is as disgustingly in favor of BLM and ANTIFA as the NBA is. Maybe you should figure out that if the NBA can disappear because of their racism so can you. F___ SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Your subscription is cancelled too!

qengli
qengli

Sports is supposed to bring people together, and when you mix politics into it you alienate the opposing side. Very simple. It's probably the best thing for the AA community because if the NBA goes bankrupt more boys might dream of becoming something other than a basketball player and find role models in other fields with more diverse views.

BLMTerrorist
BLMTerrorist

What kind of publication are you when you cannot even address the elephant in the room and why ratings are truly down? Answer: One that cannot be trusted and is no longer needed.

NBA supports rapists
NBA supports rapists

Anti-American Marxist terrorist ball? No thanks. Maybe after all the players apologize for their blatant racism and support of child r*pists, abusers of women and general thuggery that real American heroes, the police, keep us safe from (when their communist democrat leaders allow them to). NFL, you already lost me - MLB take note and NHL, your on thin ice as long as you plaster this "We skate for terrorists" BS all over your rinks.

Mav58
Mav58

I think most of us are sick of this false narrative being shoved down our throats. It’s going to backfire for the left in November.

StrikeOut
StrikeOut

They are missing that sports is an escape from reality. Sure you can dismiss this as racist but a lot of people watch sports to get away from the chaos. Even the ancient Olympics was a way for people who hated each other to lay down arms and unify under the banner of sports. Sports was where race no longer mattered because we were just fans. We've lost that.

Hoops23
Hoops23

Totally agree. I've been a big bball fan and so disappointed that it has come to this. Having an uneducated ignorant player such as Lebron James to speak about BLM. Been watching 2014 Finals game instead.

United4ALL
United4ALL

If the NBA wants to be a billboard for social justice, allow all groups to promote their political agenda on the NBA's floor of their approved social justice.

Alexandra818
Alexandra818

Get Woke, Go Broke. It's as simple as that. Watching the NBA lick the totalitarian Chinese Communist boots, then embrace BLM (but only when a white cop is the shooter) and turn their collective backs to the thousands of blacks murdered in the black community every year. Go ahead and spin it as you need to, to ignore the writing on the wall.


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