Insider: NBA's historic TV ratings lows come with 'obvious caveats'

Sam Amico

Television ratings for the conference finals gave the NBA little momentum heading into its main event between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, but this year's viewership issues come with a few "obvious caveats," according to Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch.

For one, this is the first time the NBA postseason has been held in August and September, opposite of the NFL -- which generally overtakes everything else on TV. Also, ratings are also generally down across the board, regardless of programming, in August.

"The declines are steep and the lows historic, but all is not lost as the NBA enters the final chapter of its protracted season," Lewis wrote.

As Lewis relayed, the Eastern and Western conferences suffered a 35 percent decline in viewership since last season, averaging only about 4.18 million viewers for ESPN and TNT.

"The 11 games played this year rank among the 14 least-watched conference final games since 2007, joining Raptors-Bucks Game 2 last year (4.39M) and Games 1 and 2 of Spurs-Grizzlies in 2013 (4.85 and 4.62M)," Lewis noted.

That said, the conference finals did hold up well against most of the other competition, sans the NFL. Lewis used the Lakers win over the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the West finals to illustrate his point.

"Saturday’s clinching Nuggets-Lakers Game 5 was the weekend’s highest rated and most-watched non-NFL sporting event with a 2.4 and 4.79 million viewers on TNT, easily winning a crowded head-to-head against college football (Florida State-Miami: 1.6, 2.95M; Alabama-Missouri: 1.15, 2.09M) and Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final (1.5, 2.71M)," he wrote.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver admitted prior to Game 1 of the Finals that the league has struggled to generate eyeballs, saying that the league is "learning more about our television audience" and that "fewer people are watching in the summer."

According to several reports, viewership for the first-round of this year's playoffs -- held in August -- was down 27 percent from last season and 40 percent from 2018-19.

Comments (9)
No. 1-4
LemonGator
LemonGator

Hahaha. Go Woke -- Gladly Go Broke! Bye Bye Race Bating BLM NBA and Horrible Person LeBron.

MAGA2020and be
MAGA2020and be

Very few are willing to watch a bunch of monkeys who support violence and looting. If you put the NBA players in a cage at a zoo(where they belong) I would be more willing to watch

oldchevy8888
oldchevy8888

Fans do not want to watch political grandstanding by woke multi-millionaires. Sports are for entertainment and an escape from an already dismal situation in this country. If these spoiled athletes want to make a statement do it on their own time.

CHINABALL
CHINABALL

Maybe if they focused on basketball rather than their activism, I'd give a flying F about their games.


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