Lakers no match for NASCAR head-to-head, as NBA ratings stay on low side

Sam Amico

A break in the action didn't seem to impact the NBA's television ratings, and that news could be considered both good and bad.

The players' decision to boycott playoff games Wednesday didn't lead to a decrease in ratings -- but it didn't boost them, either, as relayed by Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch.

In all, the league postponed games for three days before resuming Saturday. Among the games on the first day back featured LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in primetime, when they eliminated the Portland Trail Blazers in a Game 5 of their first-round series.

That game was carried by TNT and drew a 1.8 rating and 2.92 million viewers, which only dipped 1 percent from Game 4 prior to the boycott. That said, Game 5 was the least-watched game of the series.

It also was no match for the NASCAR race on NBC, which coincided with the Lakers-Blazers game and drew a 2.4 rating and 3.87 million viewers.

But it's not been all bad or so-so news for the NBA. Like all television programming in August, viewership tends to be down overall and fluctuate depending on time of day and quite simply, what else is on.

Lewis pointed out this unpredictable trend.

"Earlier Saturday evening, Thunder-Rockets Game 5 averaged a 1.3 and 2.14 million — the most-watched game of that series (pending results for Monday’s Game 6)," Ratings and viewership jumped 59% and 80% respectively over Game 4, which aired on a Monday afternoon (0.8, 1.19M)," he wrote. 

"Versus the comparable window last year, ratings fell 35% and viewership 30% from Game 1 of a Sixers-Raptors semifinal (1.95, 3.08M). Keep in mind last year’s game aired exclusively on TNT."

Overall, ratings for the playoffs are down around 20 percent from last season, according to data collected from Real GM and ShowBuzz Daily.

That said, the NBA's ratings aren't much worse than what the league was expecting, given the fact the league has never before held playoff games in August and September.

But a much bigger problem lies in what was going on before the suspension of play in March. SportsBusiness Daily reported in February that ratings for regular-season games had declined by 12 percent since the end of the 2018-19 season. Again, that was during the NBA's normal calendar year and prior to the league shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Comments (23)
No. 1-19
Down4Truth
Down4Truth

There is NO mention of the politics of the NBA. The ratings are down because many people don't want to listen to 20 something millionaires preach and get details wrong and push a simple narrative about subjects that are complex.

rondarenger
rondarenger

I have watched every NBA game I could and have boycotted the season and maybe the sport because it of the politics. I watch sports to escape politics and the news, but now when you watch the NBA its one in the same.

IAmARealPerson
IAmARealPerson

I am posting on a story about NBA ratings because I literally DO NOT CARE ABOUT THEM

BFinkel
BFinkel

As a 20 yr NBA fan I am sad to boycott, but BLM is attacking fathers in the home and traditional families. I just can't support this position. From their own site "We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure..We dismantle the patriarchal practice." The "patriarchal practice" refers to the belief that children deserve a father in the home to provide. How can anyone who cares about children support this?

They are also racist! Again from their own site "We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position." Did I mention they are sexist, quoting them once more from their own site "We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege."
And, just to end it, they are unapologetically Marxist and even refer to their members (on their own website) as "comrades."

Sorry NBA, but it is horrific to think that you are supporting an organization that wants to disrupt the nuclear family. ITS THE DISRUPTED NUCLEAR FAMILY THAT IS CAUSING MOST OF THE PROBLEMS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY. Wake up! Until you do I just can't watch anymore, even though I love B-Ball.

Rooster24
Rooster24

BLM is an admittedly Marxist organization who seeks to disrupt the American Family Structure as we know it. The racism goes both ways, and there is no shortage of it within BLM. They have brutally beaten people for saying that All Lives Matter, and support an agenda that includes anarchy, de-funding police, abolishment of prisons, and reparations for slavery.

So why would the mainstream population support an organization that seeks to destroy them? Stop skirting the real issue of why the NBA's ratings continue to tank.

Timmytim
Timmytim

I have been an NBA fan for as longer than you have been alive......by many years.......and I sent an email to Adam Silver telling him, basically, what you are saying here. I think the BLM group is trying to do some very good things but I don't support every one of their beliefs. I told Mr. Silver that I watch sports to escape the problems of the world and I can't accept the NBA endorsing a political group. I'm not watching the NBA until they are, again, a non-political sports entertainment product.

Timmytim
Timmytim

I agree. I don't want to watch politics. I want to watch the NBA. They are one and the same now. I can't escape politics if I have to read "Black Lives Matter" on the court for a whole NBA game.

1Skyking
1Skyking

BLM has destroyed much and built nothing. Riots are evil making BLM the face of evil in America.

Groundhog MA
Groundhog MA

"Versus the comparable window last year, ratings fell 35% and viewership 30% from Game 1 of a Sixers-Raptors semifinal (1.95, 3.08M). Keep in mind last year’s game aired exclusively on TNT."

The Peewee Herman defense "I meant to do that".

CandyLey
CandyLey

I loved the NBA but they have made it way too political. Some people watch sports to get away from the drama of politics. Ugh I just can't support it anymore.

truth225
truth225

99% of all comments i've read on ALL sites related to NBA walk off and black lives crap in our face has been negative. but watching the people on sports shows you'd think these players are all MLK reincarnated. just like everything else related to this cause i think the ratings are a BIG LIE too. we're done with you!

saynt
saynt

I tried to watch the games last night, but sports is an escape for me, and every single time I saw BLM painted across the court on my TV. It took me to the turmoil this country is going through and just pissed me off. So I quit watching. They need to take the politics out of sports.

Sommerset
Sommerset

I am not boycotting anything BUT I can't stomach the politics all over the games now. Maybe I'll come back but as it is now it's not entertaining I have stopped watching. I doubt anything will change any time soon so I am out.

andyfreeman
andyfreeman

the huge BLACK LIVES MATTER logo on the court convinced me; a life long NBA supporter, to never watch or support ANYTHING NBA related ever again in my life. I take these threats seriously.

bwalk9918
bwalk9918

Honestly most of these people are right. No one wants to watch a 3 hour political protest. We just want sports.

bobbymalibu
bobbymalibu

I have been a NBA fan for 50 years. I had season tickets to the Lakers for 20 years both at The Forum and Staples Center. But I will never watch an NBA game again as long as the players and the league support BLM which is causing more violence and division in our country.

LemonGator
LemonGator

BOYCOTT NBA. I was a huge fan -- I have not watched 1 game. SI is full of s**t. They know it... Ratings are down because of stupid things like BLM and hating police... Simple -- keep out of politics or pay the consequence. Bye!

ryanschade
ryanschade

Not one word about the real reason the ratings are down (BLM/Lebron James)in this article from this fake news reporter. 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!

Dcole702
Dcole702

Ratings are down for sports across the board. Football as well. Mostly because people can’t afford to pay for cable and the sports package. Go on YouTube and look at the views for the highlights. They easily hit a few million hours after the game is over. Stop your biased nonsense.


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