NBA Playoff Ratings Struggling Compared to Year’s Past
We have the top two teams (1 and 2 seed) squaring off in the Eastern Conference Finals and also two players who are at the very least in the top 5 in the NBA, (Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard) yet the average viewer in the United States is not all that interested.
It was reported that Game 2 between the Bucks and Raptors averaged 4.39 million viewers on TNT, down 48 percent (!) from last year when the LeBron James-led Cavaliers took on the Boston Celtics.
The Raptors-Bucks has been fascinating from a basketball perspective. But the ECF is where the NBA has seen its TV viewership crater. Per @paulsen_smw: Friday’s Game 2 drew 4.39 million viewers on TNT, down 48% from CLE-BOS on ESPN last year & 14% from CLE-BOS on TNT in 2017.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) May 21, 2019
It is worth mentioning that Canadian television numbers don’t figure into these calculations as Canadians watch Raptors games on Canadian broadcasts, but still these are shockingly low numbers.
Sure there is no LeBron James or Kyrie Irving, but shouldn’t NBA fans be salivating at Giannis vs. Kawhi? Shouldn’t NBA fans be tuning in to see how far the Raptors can go and hence if Kawhi may choose to stay? By the way, these are also two teams who play relatively exciting brands of basketball. I mean, this isn’t the Eastern Conference Playoffs of the 90’s where teams used the whole shot clock on every possession and final scores would frequently end up in the 70’s.
Unfortunately, the truth is that, regardless of their play on the court, the Bucks and Raptors are two markets that don’t do a whole lot for American ratings.
for ratings, that pair of markets was probably worst-case scenario for the east. those televisions in canada don’t count for american ratings. https://t.co/5eOXXZ4wZR
— bomani (@bomani_jones) May 21, 2019
Let’s see; maybe after that pivotal and exciting double-overtime game on Sunday night, the ratings will pick up for game 3.