While the NBA playoffs are days ahead, a new article from Outkick summarized how bad the TV ratings have fallen.
“The NBA ratings are worse than we thought last month when we found out they were worse than we thought,” the post by Bobby Burack begins. “Headed into the final week of the 2020-21 season, the NBA has averaged 1.4 million viewers across ESPN, ABC, and TNT, down 13% from last year’s disastrous COVID-interrupted, bubble season.”
Outkick details the decline to “45% since 2011-12. Yes, 45%. Within that same time frame, NBA broadcasts on TNT were down 40%, and ESPN was down 20%. Come next week, this story will, somehow, read worse.”
From Hoops Hype: “The NBA currently gets $24 billion combined over the nine-year media rights deals with ESPN and Turner Sports that end in 2024-25. Like other sports, the league likely will have extensions or fresh rights contracts in place before then. The NBA reportedly is seeking $75 billion in total for its next deals. Eyeball count is among the factors that will dictate if that’s a realistic goal, but even in decline, live sports TV remains the most-watched programming. And that’s what advertisers ultimately want.”
The NBA Finals could be the bounce back.
“It would be absolutely shocking if the ratings of the NBA Finals were not up double digits,” Sports Media Watch’s Jon Lewis said to BSM.
““Last year if they had had the Finals out of the way by maybe Week 1 of the NFL season, I think they would have gotten some better numbers,” Lewis said of last year’s disappointing ratings for the NBA Playoffs. “Nothing dramatically better, but still better than what they got. So time of year matters.”
“If they can make a run here and make it to maybe the Eastern Conference semifinals or finals, you’re going to see a huge number coming out of the New York market,” Sports Business Daily’s Austin Karp said. “That’s really going to help boost some of those numbers.”
The NBA has struggled after their inclusion of social justice messaging, a backlash after failing to denounce China, adding Black Lives Matters to the court and players’ jersey last year and recent attacks on police by stars, particularly LeBron James.
Full text: The NBA ratings are worse than we thought last month when we found out they were worse than we thought. Headed into the final week of the 2020-21 season, the NBA has averaged 1.4 million viewers across ESPN, ABC, and TNT, down 13% from last year’s disastrous COVID-interrupted, bubble season. NBA defenders — at ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today and every other sports media outlet — are running out of excuses. “It’s the bubble,” they yelled last year when the ratings tanked. Make no mistake, the NBA’s declines have undoubtedly reached headquarters. Coming into the 2020-21 season, NBA games on ABC — the league’s most prominent broadcast partner — were down 45% since 2011-12. Yes, 45%. Within that same time frame, NBA broadcasts on TNT were down 40%, and ESPN was down 20%. Come next week, this story will, somehow, read worse. ABC’s damning declines are most concerning. Last season, the NBA on ABC recorded its lowest average on record, 2.95 million. While exact figures are yet to be determined, ABC games this season will still come in lower. In other words, lower than an all-time low. NBA commissioner Adam Silver previously expressed concerns about cable packages moving forward. I […]