NBA Semifinals Viewership Crashes Double-Digits from 2019

Getty Images_Kevin C. Cox (5)
Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox

TV ratings for the second round of the NBA playoffs are not doing well for the league. After the first-round numbers crashed up to 17 percent over 2018 and 2019, the semifinals appear to be doing no better.

Several days ago, Sports Business Journal writer John Ourand reported that the first-round ratings were dismal when measured against 2018 and 2019. According to Ourand, the ratings for the opening games of the 2021 NBA playoffs were pretty much the same as the 2019 season. However, viewership was down 17 percent from the 2018 season.

But with LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers eliminated in the first round and with the semifinals continuing without them, the numbers are falling farther.

Ourand reported that Wednesday’s Nuggets-Suns NBA second-round Game 2 averaged 3.53 million viewers and actually gained one percent over the 2019 season. However, that was actually off 18 percent over last year’s comparable game.

Tuesday’s showing was worse.

“The Hawks-Sixers Game 2 and Clippers-Jazz Game 1 averaged 3.63 million viewers — down 18% and 41% respectively from the comparable 2019 doubleheader (Celtics-Bucks: 4.45M; Rockets-Warriors: 6.16M),” Sports Media Watch noted.

It remains to be seen if the disappearance of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the L.A. Lakers from the playoffs will contribute to even worse ratings as the finals move on toward the championship game.

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