First week of NBA playoff ratings down 20 percent from last season

Sam Amico

The NBA playoffs inside the Orlando bubble averaged 1.875 million viewers for the first week, down 20 percent from last season, per data from RealGM and ShowBuzz Daily.

Industry insiders mostly chalk up the decline in viewership to the abnormal season, with games being played in August and often during the daytime hours, when television viewership is generally down across the board.

That said, SportsBusiness Daily reported in February that ratings for regular-season games had declined by 12 percent since the end of the 2018-19 season. That was during the NBA's normal calendar year and prior to the league suspending play because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Viewership data collected by ShowBuzz consisted of playoff games televised on ABC, ESPN and TNT from the week of Aug. 17-23. Games broadcast on NBA TV were not included in the data. 

Ratings were down 28 percent for the 18-49 demographic for the first week of the playoffs, the data revealed. But again, these numbers align with television ratings overall, which are reportedly down 19 percent from this time last year.

The NBA's national television contract expires soon, and at $2.6 billion, remains the league's largest stream of revenue. Lower ratings could impact the league's bargaining position when it's time to negotiate another TV deal.

Overall, the NBA has remained steady compared to other sports programming, and on par with MLB, but will have to go head-to-head with the mammoth NFL in less than a month.

Comments (30)
No. 1-21
hankfromthebank
hankfromthebank

aw shucks.,,the games I no longer watch will not be played

med128
med128

l agree.

formernbafan
formernbafan

The NBA can't possibly be so stupid not to know why ratings are tanking. What's amusing is watching ESPN and other sports media claim "it's COVID-19 and viewing habits have changed." I suspect I'm like many Americans, we expect more out of character from those we invest our hard earned income supporting. I don't watch sports for politics and I will never watch another NBA Game. If the NFL moves forward with their political crap I won't be watching either. I'm warming up to the idea of The Master's being played in November along with a heavy dose of SEC football.

BillG83
BillG83

The NBA can fuck right off to China. I've never had the displeasure of seeing a bigger group of whining anti-American prima donnas in my life.

Jsmall87
Jsmall87

Yep and Kenny from inside NBA if I walked off my job id be joining the other millions without jobs not praised lol! Kenny the most boring and unpopular one on the show anyway Chuck is the best!

NoChickenLittle
NoChickenLittle

Only down 20%? It's down 100% for me...

NoChickenLittle
NoChickenLittle

Only down 20%? It's down 100% for me...

Former Fan
Former Fan

Haha, who really cares anymore. Too many political opinions for my taste.

nbrownlaw
nbrownlaw

I think it is worse. Those numbers got massaged to give the best scenario. Still: 340 million Americans and only 1.75 million watching? The playoffs?!?!? I wonder how China viewership is.

Gersalv
Gersalv

They have gained stature for standing tall for those who can't do it for themselves. They have gained a ton of new fans and respect.

Rooster24
Rooster24

Most Americans do not choose to support a Marxist organization, and especially one that espouses violence and defunding of Police. Used to be a huge fan, but I have watched my last-ever NBA game, and am confident the ratings and revenues will continue to tank.

Huskers1266
Huskers1266

Man, what a privilege and honor to play the game at the highest level. You'd think they'd use that platform to make a difference by pleading with fellow Blacks to simply comply with a Lawful command? Respect the Law? And plead with the Fake media to show the WHOLE story, so as to not incite unnecessary violence, protests and anarchy? Hate to say it but racism is now going the wrong way. It's only getting worse with all this bullshit!

jffsr2004444
jffsr2004444

i have had enough i will no longer watch any of the sports teams that kneel. i agree with their right to peacefully protest but i think most people watch to get away from the every day grind of life and just want to watch a game.

Smilesterr
Smilesterr

Professional sports, for the most part, has become a non-starter for watching in our house. I used to be a sports junkie, however; their entitled, and sometimes racist attitude has helped me shake off the yoke of dutifully supporting these divas' lifestyle.

Hoopplayer
Hoopplayer

I used to go to the movies - then they played a ton of commercials and started the movie later than scheduled or advertised. I thought I don't go to the theater to watch commercials and stopped going and bought the movies for viewing at home. Same with these sports. It is not an escape and entertainment, its politics and ugly politics at that. So why watch? When people stop watching it becomes a fringe and the money leaves. Also, fans develop an emotional tie to players. I can't even relate to them as they are angry so much. So that is going away too. I iwish all the players well, I just don't want to watch anymore

haldoc
haldoc

sports are supposed to be someplace where politics is set aside and everyone can enjoy the games,,,,,no longer,,,the NBA has become a political organization
,,not going to watch any game

AntDX3162
AntDX3162

It's just going to be worse and worse. People are just sticking w/ the old methods because it's what people know but how long will it all last?

Mamesguy
Mamesguy

The NBA always had very strict rules about what you can wear on your uniform socks and sneakers. Now they gave in 2 BLM slogans, and all other kind of Justice, and better education slogans on the back of their jerseys. What happened with the very strict rules they had regarding such things
I also don't enjoy seeing black lives matter painted enlarge letters on the court so that I always have to be reminded of it as the players run up and down the court.
If the players have a message they want to relay or negotiate, they should do it in private at the negotiating table! I am paying to watch TV and don't appreciate overpaid players trying to force some messages down my throat!

Justtired
Justtired

Answer: Stay out of politics.... on the court. Peace

Bodhios
Bodhios

White America is turning its back on these racists. Don't think otherwise.

Jaketen
Jaketen

Never inject politics into sports. The NBA, NFL, MLB, AND NHL have lost me as a viewer forever.


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