For more than two months, Black Lives Matter has been scrawled across basketball courts in Orlando, with “Coaches for Racial Justice” on everyone’s polo, and hyper-partisan statements like “Say Her Name” and “How Many More” on nearly every millionaire’s jersey.
Perhaps because of this, no one really watched the NBA playoffs, and the NBA Finals are a ratings disaster.
All that makes a drop of almost 60% in viewership from last year inexcusable, especially since the NBA’s problems are mostly self-inflicted.
Outkick’s Bobby Burack elaborated earlier this week:
“Undoubtedly, politics sit atop the historical tank. After nearly two decades of reinventing the NBA discussion, LeBron James is now a detriment to the league’s brand. With misleading social statements, lying about putting human rights before his brand, bowing to China, refusing to comment on the shooting of two police officers, paying for fines so felons can vote (for Joe Biden), and craving celebrity worship — LeBron now alienates more viewers than he attracts.”
Despite no competition on a Wednesday night, Game 1 recorded the lowest NBA Finals number ever; Game 2 set another new low at just over 6 million viewers, a record that lasted only two days — until Game 3’s debacle.
For that Sunday night tilt, numbers were down an unprecedented 60% from last year’s championship, making it the least-watched NBA Finals game in history. None of the four games so far have been competitive either.
It’s October, not June, so there’s occasional football overlap and playoff baseball; but with limited media promotion, MLB ratings are up in local TV and streaming viewership.
“I would say, in terms of the messages you see on the court and our jerseys, this was an extraordinary moment in time when we began these discussions with the players and what we all lived through this summer,“ he said. “My sense is there’ll be somewhat a return to normalcy, that those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor.“
A Tuesday poll following a pro-NBA, anti-Republican Yahoo Sports piece showed 60% believe politics are the reason for tanking ratings. That was almost five times higher than any other rationale.