Ratings for Game 1 of the NBA Finals Crash 36% from 2019

Getty Images_Kevin C. Cox (9)
Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox

Ratings for Game 1 of the NBA Finals did not get off to an auspicious start coming in 36 percent below that of 2019.

While the game did outperform the league’s coronavirus “bubble” year, beating 2020 by 13 percent, it fell far short of the NBA’s last “normal” year.

Per Sports Media Watch:

Tuesday’s Bucks-Suns NBA Finals Game 1 averaged 8.56 million viewers on ABC, up 13% from Heat-Lakers in the “bubble” last September, which faced Major League Baseball playoff games (7.58M), but down 36% from Warriors-Raptors in May 2019 (13.38M).

Indeed, this year’s Game 1 came in as the second least-watched finals Game 1 ever. Again, with 2020 setting the lowest bar possible, this year’s Game 1 viewership of 8.56 million viewers was lower than the previous low (2020 excluded) when the Cavaliers-Spurs earned 9.21 million viewers in 2007.

“Until the league went on hiatus in March of last year, every Finals game from 2008-19 had averaged at least 12 million,” Sports Media Watch added.

Worse, showing just how bad the NBA has done in its past two seasons, this month’s Game 1 ranks as the second most-watched game of the last two years!

Other sports championships are doing far better than the NBA.

“By comparison, Game 1 of last year’s World Series averaged 9.2 million viewers,” the site added.

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