NBA Finals Game 1 TV ratings improve over 2020 but are still way down from prior years

NBA Finals Game 1 TV ratings improve over 2020 but are still way down from prior years

The numbers are hard to spin: Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals was down 10 million-plus viewers since 2017.

Tuesday’s Phoenix Suns-Milwaukee Bucks opener averaged 8.56 million on ABC (TV and streaming, with a peak of 9.97 million between 11:15-11:30 p.m. ET). That’s an improvement over last year’s average of 7.41 million that watched Game 1 that was played inside the Orlando bubble on Sept. 30 because of COVID-19.

But comparing to 2020 is an artificially low bar. Game 1 of the pre-pandemic 2019 Finals between the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors averaged 12.31 million viewers during the normal June timeframe. And Game 1 of the Cavs-Warriors finals in 2017 averaged 18.74 million viewers.

That’s a 54 percent rate of decline in four years. Oof.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: