TV Ratings: Game 2 of Eastern Conference Finals sinks to 17-year low

Sam Amico

Television ratings for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals continued a trend downward for the NBA this season, with the Miami Heat's win over the Boston Celtics averaging just 3.48 million viewers.

As noted by Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch, that was a 21 percent drop from last season's East finals Game 2 between the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks -- and the least-watched East finals Game 2 since 2003.

This year's Game 2 was televised by ESPN, which is carrying the entire East finals, followed by the actual Finals, which will be broadcast entirely on ABC. Disney owns both ABC and ESPN.

The Heat and Celtics did have to go up against Thursday Night Football, but that was also broadcast on cable (NFL Network) and involved two teams that failed to make the playoffs last season in the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals.

Wisely, Game 4 of the Heat-Celtics series was moved from Monday to Tuesday night in order to avoid a conflict with ESPN's broadcast of Monday Night Football.

In fairness to the NBA, this is the first time in history the conference finals have had to go head-to-head with the NFL, which tends to wallop anything it faces, regardless of the competition.

Still, as Ryan Glasspiegel of Outkick wrote, the declining viewership generally is the result of declining interest in the product -- regardless of whether fans are streaming games, legally or otherwise.

"This continues a troubling trend for NBA playoff viewership, and the sports-starved audience that the league believed would be there when they returned from the pandemic has not materialized," Glasspiegel opined.

Now, the NBA has indeed had a few victories this postseason --  though those have been few and far between in an otherwise dire season of drawing eyeballs, and that includes prior to the hiatus.

As reported a few weeks back, ratings for the first round of the playoffs dropped 27 percent since last season and an astonishing 40 percent from two years ago.

That said, while the league is disappointed in the TV turnout, it doesn't appear to be overly concerned. These are, after all, rare times.

What the NBA will find troubling, though, is if the ratings remain consistently on the lower end when next season resumes. In that scenario, it would be considered more than just a blip.

It would be a trend, and likely weaken the league's bargaining position when it comes the all-important television contracts and sponsorships.

Comments (16)
No. 1-11
boycotnba
boycotnba

I hope the n b a never recovers. Their political venom spewing has become their downfall, good riddance forever.

sacdiddy
sacdiddy

lucky nba is more global than other sports, or they would be really toast. i hope nba also tanks. good luck negotiating with TV networks next year. bye bye $40million dollar pay days.

Barry Hussein
Barry Hussein

Go woke, go broke. Coming soon - you want fries with that?

tsphillips
tsphillips

So, down 27% from last year and 40% from two years ago is not a trend, according to Sam Amico, wow.

godotnuts
godotnuts

All the phony sports fans in this thread rooting for the NBA to fail for political reasons, while at the same time criticizing the NBA for being too political. Typical hypocrisy from the MAGA crowd.

4 Replies

Evrylifematters
Evrylifematters

Dude that’s not hypocrisy it’s reality. If they just took the black lives matter off the floor for the rest of the playoffs I would bet you see at least a 5 percent increase in viewers. People don’t want these rich out of touch athletes preaching to us about how tough their lives are.

lfallo1
lfallo1

wanting sports to be non-political is somehow political... you're beautiful.

1961Corvette
1961Corvette

Is it? Really

jimboblit
jimboblit

I feel like watching the NBA is a political rally for criminals and then a basketball game was played.

rdawgg100
rdawgg100

Get the politics out and respect the flag and I will watch and attend games again.

bobbymalibu
bobbymalibu

LeBron and BLM destroyed the NBA,,,,,,,the league needs to remove the BLM logo from the court and start wearing non-political basketball uniforms again.

bobbymalibu
bobbymalibu

Numbers don't lie!

JoeBleu
JoeBleu

As long as the NBA is beholden to China the league has no worries.

evie1
evie1

When celebrity players tell us to take a knee, we tell them to take a hike.

Nate Higgers
Nate Higgers

Humans are really starting to suffer from reggin fatigue.


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