NBA continues ratings struggles in first weekend of playoffs

Sam Amico

Ratings for broadcasts of NBA games remained shaky over the weekend, per Sports Media Watch, continuing a season-long trend of the league struggling to attract television viewers.

"Weekday afternoon games have certainly hurt, but the first weekend of the NBA Playoffs was no ratings bonanza either," according to Sports Media Watch. 

Compared to the last season, ABC's first playoff game of this season fell 23 percent in ratings and 21 percent in viewership.

"The Lakers’ win ranks as ABC’s least-watched playoff opener in five years (2015 Pelicans-Warriors: 3.49M), with the caveat that this year marked the first time since 2004 that it did not air a game on the opening day of the postseason," Sports Media Watch reported.

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

"All comparisons come with the disclaimer that this year’s NBA Playoffs is taking place four months later than originally scheduled, during a time of year in which fewer televisions are in use, and with the majority of games airing in unusual weekday afternoon timeslots," Sports Media Watch wrote.

Comments (60)
No. 1-48
Melku
Melku

Better take the game to China! The NBA ruined it all on their own, nobody cares anymore..... Bye Bye Bue!

Rexl
Rexl

Who cares. Over payed and over rated. Shut it down. Good riddance.

Seffy
Seffy

Tell Silver & Co to remove that communist organization logo's off the court!

America is never going communist

1 Reply

Cajunboy77
Cajunboy77

China might not like that!!!! :)

A1timefan
A1timefan

Im glad that the NBA has decided to fight for civil rights in America. That way theyll never let us forget how big of a hypocrite they are and the American people can see just how much they bend over for China.

bwalk9918
bwalk9918

They should just shut down the playoffs...it is a joke. and if the players don't want to play they can fall back on their degrees

bwalk9918
bwalk9918

Not to mention the country doesn't give two effs about the Bucks...90% of the country doesn't know they exist.

Defund_the_NBA
Defund_the_NBA

I’m not interested in supporting Left-Wing political agitators. The entire NBA has become a political movement. I won’t watch an NBA (or NFL) game until these political movement stop.

ygar
ygar

make all the excuses you want.... the common sense truth is that when you inject politics into sports you turn off the millions of people who watch sports as an escape from the issues that cause stress in our lives.

ygar
ygar

make all the excuses you want....the common sense truth is that when you inject politics into sports you turn off the millions of people who watch sports to escape the issues that cause stress in our lives.

Rooster24
Rooster24

At this point, I'd much rather watch Cornhole or Axe Throwing tournaments. Why does society put such a monetary value on throwing a ball through a hoop, anyway? If these spoiled ingrates think there's a better place to live, by all means please move there!

pd1956
pd1956

They won't face the truth. Hateful bigots like Lebron and Coaches Pop and Kerr shoving BLM down our throats is bullshit. We don't need it and we're walking away. Bye bye fools.

nborin
nborin

I stopped watching when politics were introduced. Freed up lots of my time and I have no intention of returning.

Anthony1234
Anthony1234

The NBA will feel the wrath of the viewer in jersey sales, attendance and viewership if this continues. Watch what happens at the next CBA

jrush1978
jrush1978

Overpaid hypocrites who support Marxism. Truth. Can't deny that especially when one of the co-founders, Patrisse Cullors, admitted that they are. These guys fight for justice but remain silent about a country that commits more human rights abuses in 10 minutes than the U.S. does in 10 years! We see right through you LeBron and Company! Give it up! You're DONE!

Bodhios
Bodhios

nm

Bodhios
Bodhios

You can tell where the politics of the writer of this article stands. Blames it on the pandemic? Are you serious? These people are too filled with TDS to see the king has no clothes. The NBA and its players have made it perfectly clear they are anti-American and Anti-white. The NBA is a racist endeavor, and no real American should give them their time or money.

Bodhios
Bodhios

Due to the pandemic. Hahahahaha , that's a good one.

Allmountain
Allmountain

Obviously as the NBA, MLB, NFL, and now NHL have demonstrated social justice is far more important than sports. And, just about everything in the world is more important than sports. Therefore, I am taking the moral stand that until the players are satisfied that social justice has been achieved, and the world is up to their standards, I cannot in good conscience watch or support professional sports.

Tom8715
Tom8715

All I can say is the old Harlem Globetrotters with the red, white, and blue uniforms would be making money hand over fist right now putting on shows! I don't believe any of those guys would be down with all this shit I picture them to being more like Herschel Walker and actually having some sense..... I would imagine at this time anyone that ever dreamed of starting a new sports league and had the money to do so could put a team on the court right now with a new rule of no politics in sports and about put the NBA out of business! I could be wrong...

Callmebigguy
Callmebigguy

Never watch NBA since the way they play the game now is a joke... But encourage others to drop watching it as it is now about politics. Have watched NFL but the first time one of the players kneel in out...

Stipe
Stipe

The NBA made it political and racial, so I left.
I won't be back.

brooksconrad
brooksconrad

Watching sports is a way to get away from what's going on in the world. It clears my mind of it. Once you bring the bad stuff in the world into sports, you ruin the enjoyment of it. I understand you have to protest but can't you do it outside of sports?

BLM has no integrity
BLM has no integrity

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.

So.. Industry insiders are mentally retarded? Wrong. A large contingent of the fanbase (significant % of fans that can actually afford tickets.. are you reading this?) have left the game forever. Me included. We don't accept this garbage you are peddling. go luck, best wishes.... good bye.

FormerFan
FormerFan

I literally had league pass, watched every game for my favorite team for 9 years and they are doing great his year, but once they got political I could not continue to support a league and its players that essentially are saying I am a racist bigot if I do not bow down to what their groupthink is. Funny thing is, I am not even white or a solid Trump fan, just over the NBA, and NFL for that matter. I honestly gave up on sports other than taking up a renewed interest in NASCAR of all sports during the pandemic.

BoycottNBA
BoycottNBA

Players want to voice their opinion, do it on their free time, like everyone else, we don’t go to our jobs and boycott for a couple of days then return with our boss greeting us with open arms, we would be fired. Players need to realize fans are their boss indirectly, i will no longer watch games, buy apparel or care about the NBA, hope in the next year or 2 with the new tv contract they realize the loss of fans and it starts affecting their wallet.

BOYCOTTNBA4EVER
BOYCOTTNBA4EVER

will never ever watch the NBA again. Move the league to china. Forcing Morey to apologize, bowing down to China, talking down to your fans, need I go on? I truly hope the league goes under so the players all have to move overseas. Screw the NBA.

FMonk
FMonk

I love basketball. I tolerated the kneeling because, to their credit, they defended the rights of those who refused to kneel. I was even willing to tolerate the ‘social justice’ posturing because they do have the right to free expression. The breaking point comes when Doc Rivers starts lecturing viewers about Republicans “spewing this fear”. Excuse me? Who’s telling black people that all police are out to murder them? Who’s looting and burning down our cities with the complicity of their mayors? Who’s murdering black people for defending their property? Who’s killing women for saying “all lives matter”? How dare he talk about fearmongering? He says we need to get rid of police unions; who is it that absolutely refuses to get rid of government unions? In his own words: it’s sad, you should just be a basketball coach. It’s sad that the league has allowed partisan messaging to disgrace the game. Count me out.

Polboz
Polboz

Talk about head in the sand! An "analysis" of these ratings without even mentioning the politics involved, really? The biggest attraction of sports is the fun diversion it is from the stress of life. It's a place you go where it doesn't matter what the political persuasion of the person next you is. I get divisive politics just by turning on the news or walking out my door. When you turn sports into that it loses its primary attraction. Add to that the unbelievably transparent double standard with China and it's just not worth giving 5 seconds of my time to.

Tiberius NBAicus
Tiberius NBAicus

Yay! Bye bye, pervert!

(re-usage of line said to congressman Anthony Weiner, after resigned over ho-ing)

Suck it, NBA. Quitting games because you accept BLM lies about police incidents at face value isn't heroic or some great victory for civil rights.

CountryFirst
CountryFirst

The NBA is losing it's viewership due to the politicization of the game and it's players, as well as it's hypocrisy in condemning those that stand up against oppressive, human-rights violating communists in China, while pretending that it's fans are racist. I have been an AVID NBA fan my whole life, but have realized that I do not need to support them with my time or money any more as long as they continue their support for Marxism. Shame on the writers of these articles that analyze viewership declines, making up every excuse while failing to mention the obvious cause-- we are sick of being called racists by the wealthy millionaire spoiled athletes whom are treated like royalty in this county and the owners who don't care about their fans.

Inowhateu
Inowhateu

Wait, are they on strike or are they playing, or on strike again? Oh, they are playing but still acting like they are politicians, or basketball players, or politicians.... hmmm. At this point, I’d like to see every single person who pays the advertising, the merchandising, the ticket sales and the beer drinking to turn their back on these useless crybabies and see what happens when their checks shrink.

BBob
BBob

Impressive that most of those commenting here are far more in-tune to what's really going on here than any of the woke-hack SI writers. Keep speaking up about the reality and maybe the press (and SI) will finally get the message! These damn politico-athletes are ruining sports!

Lamedogg47
Lamedogg47

What these players don’t understand is that they are making millions Per year and they fully know what is going on in Xinjiang China, yet they are suggesting with these words on the back of their jersey that they have the higher ground, if you are not black you will never understand and therefore you have nothing to say because whatever differing opinion that comes out of your mouth is racist. Many people have said, “I have nothing to say so I just listen.” I think a lot of people have listened and they are simply tired of being told that they are wrong, so the easiest thing to do is to simply give up, even if you want to watch basketball. I for one love watching and can always find a team to cheer for, except now. What I have realized is that spending time with my kids and doing something else like reading a book is better than watching a game. I played 4 sports in high school and played D1 football, but I would encourage those who find this depressing, to not watch, spend time with your family. Shoot the ball or throw it with your kids. Do something else until the players put the word “Hypocrisy” And “Humility” on the back of their jersey.

Bradcorn
Bradcorn

Do not like sports to force me into a political movement . Will never watch again since politics was injected . Goodbye NBA !!! Funny thing is I find I really do not miss it Getting a lot more things done . Thank you !

saynt
saynt

The people they are protesting about sexually assaulted women, but they don't care about that. No NBA in this house. Never again.

Bradcorn
Bradcorn

The left wing NBA . Who in the hell wants to watch a sporting event and be lectured about politics . Take the game to China . Fits in better over there

cgarland630
cgarland630

Too politicized. No longer interested.

Jimmyjr1515
Jimmyjr1515

Stop the social justice shit, and I will watch again!

Nate Higgers
Nate Higgers

Once the apes infested these sports, I lost all interest completely. I'd rather watch paint dry.

HDRYVE
HDRYVE

perhaps the most comical aspect is that the players and owners think their thoughts matter--obviously the owners have to back their poorly educated labor pool and the players will discuss how bad their millionaire world is with little interest in fixing the real problems in their community, all the while as described in all previous posts--no one cares, listens or watches anymore.

swhite040
swhite040

In no other country in the world could these spoiled hypocrites make they kind of money that they make here. The should be on two knees, not one, thanking God that they live in the United States of America. The NBA has lost me after 55 years of watching.

assemble
assemble

Lets face it, if your black then history gives you an excuse to demand everything and give nothing in return. Kind of like a spoiled brat.

jbiedlingm
jbiedlingm

if america is so racist then why is the nba 95% black. should the nba be legally obliged to have a percentage of whites on the team. if being black is so difficult then why does tiger, obama and harris call themselves black when they are mixed race. also, if you are black you are 12 times more likelly to be accepted to yale or harvard than if you are white or asian with the same credentials. hmmmmmm...... sports is the purest of all if you are better than the other guy you play period. thats what we liked about sports, so stop the beefing and respect the flag

ashestoashes80
ashestoashes80

Nobody is watching the playoff games because they don't want to watch politic basketball!!! 🏀 We like to watch sports to relieve ourselves from the rest of the craziness going on, including politics!

NoJusticeNoSports
NoJusticeNoSports

If these players cannot play until we have achieved social justice is achieved in this country, then I will stand in solidarity with them and not watch as well. Watching sports forces these oppressed players to play against their will. No more I say, it is time we take a stand.

DontCareAnyway
DontCareAnyway

Meh, never did like watching NBA anyway.

AtumX
AtumX

The Remote control is the most democratic tool ever invented.
Basketball is a Black mans game. Haters will all ways find a reason to
hate.


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