Well here’s some news to break the heart. Yahoo Sports reports that “Game 1 of the Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat brought in only 7.41 million viewers to ABC, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That is reportedly the lowest viewership seen for the Finals since at least 1994, when total viewers began to be regularly recorded.”
That’ll burst your NBA bubble.
“The number is down 45 percent from last year’s Game 1 between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors, which had 13.51 million viewers.” The conference series were duds too, down 35 percent from last year.
Yahoo sneered, “News of the NBA’s ratings struggles will undoubtedly be received with glee from President Donald Trump, who has previously attributed the league’s lagging viewership to its protests against racial injustice.”
Whatever you want to call the players’ incessant posturing and sanctimony, can there be any doubt it’s turned off fans? Hating the people who pay your salary and the nation that made you rich may go over big with lefty sports journalists, but it’s not going to play in Peoria.
Yahoo admitted “political polarization could very well play a part in the dip, but there are likely several reasons behind the NBA’s decline.” Yada yada, people cutting the chord. Blah blah “truncated sports landscape,” etc.
But really, people were starved for sports, many were out of work or didn’t have commutes eating into their day, and couldn’t go out and amuse themselves in other ways. Viewership for all sports should have been through the roof. But when sports did resume, they came with grievance, accusation and insulting lectures from LeBron James.
It’s not hard to understand why millions of Americans aren’t watching the NBA finals. On the bright side, I’ll bet they’re killing it in China.