NBA playoff ratings 'crush' broadcasts of Democratic National Convention
Multiple news outlets have spent a lot of time focusing on ratings for broadcasts of NBA games, and the evidence shows those ratings have not been great.
But so far, the league appears to be drawing more eyeballs than programming on other networks -- and that includes no less than the Democratic National Convention, according to Anthony Crupi of sports-business website Sportico.
"If the first day of playoff action didn’t exactly set the Nielsen meters on fire, the games still outperformed everything on broadcast TV," Crupi reported. "Even the lowest-rated of the four telecasts easily out-delivered the networks’ coverage of the Democratic National Convention, while the Mavs-Clippers outing that aired directly opposite the NBC, CBS and ABC broadcasts crushed Joe Biden’s opening night in the 18-49 demo. (In fact, you’d have to add up all three networks’ demo 10 p.m. deliveries to equal ESPN’s performance in the hour.)"
The NBA playoffs began Monday on the Disney campus, and despite playing a season in August and being forced to go head-to-head with the NHL and MLB, the league's TV ratings seem to be steadying after a rocky restart.
Per Crupi, "the first day of the coronavirus-delayed 2020 NBA playoffs put up some unexceptional numbers on ESPN Monday, as the four-game set averaged 1.72 million viewers, a 1.2 household rating and a little more than 940,000 adults 18-49."
Using only that data, you would think the NBA is really struggling -- and there's no denying there may be reason for concern when it's time to negotiate a new TV deal.
But as Crupi reported, the ratings for all network programming has taken a massive hit this summer, dropping to an average of 73.8 million broadcast and cable viewers per night. In April, the average number of viewers was considerably higher at 91.2 million, and April is typically when the NBA playoffs begin.
"Network TV has taken a few elbows to the face, as the Big Four nets are down 42% versus the spring with an average draw of just 10.2 million viewers per night," Crupi added.
Knowing all that, it appears the networks and advertisers aren't yet all that concerned with the NBA's ratings woes.
"As long as advertisers are willing to pay more for fewer impressions, the NBA ratings will remain a non-issue," Crupi wrote.