Dunked: Ratings for Game 3 of the NBA Finals Plummet 32% from 2019

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The NBA was looking to right the ratings ship and get back to normal in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, but they’ll have to keep looking.

The third contest in the championship series between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns earned 9.02 million viewers according to Sports Media Watch. However, not only was Game 3 down from Game 2, it was down 32% from the 2019 Finals between the Warriors and a team from Canada, the Raptors.

Game 3 was up 51% from last year’s “bubble game” between the Lakers and the Heat, but that’s not quite as encouraging as it sounds. First of all, 2020 was a complete write-off as far as sports television ratings and no serious person can look at that year as a baseline for anything. Secondly, not only was the comparable game between the Lakers and the Heat in “the bubble,” it also aired opposite Sunday Night Football and was the least watched NBA Finals game of all-time.

So, a 51% jump from the gutter doesn’t exactly get you back to Easy Street.

In fact, there has only been one lower-rated Game 3 in NBA history, than this year’s Game 3, and that was last year’s Game 3 between the Lakers and the Heat.

“Through three games, the NBA Finals is averaging nine million viewers flat — up a third from last year in the ‘bubble,’ though in all likelihood the second-lowest average on record,” Sports Media Watch reports.


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