NBA Finals Game 1 Featuring LeBron James Sees Lowest TV Rating in Finals History

Nick Kangadis | October 2, 2020
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Folks, the National Basketball Association sucks. I’m not just saying that because of how overtly and selectively political they’ve become in the past couple of years. They’ve stunk ever since it was found out that some of the games were “allegedly” fixed because of a gambling referee. Who knows how far it went, but I was done with the NBA after that, and that was back in 2008.

Well, as the saying goes, “get woke, go broke.”

In case you missed it — and judging by the TV ratings, you did — Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat was the least watched NBA Finals Game 1 in the history of the NBA. Typically, Game 1 of any professional sports league’s final series is heavily watched because of the intrigue of the series and the stakes that are on the line.

That wasn’t the case on Wednesday.

According to Sports Media Watch:

Wednesday’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals (Heat-Lakers) averaged a 4.1 rating and 7.41 million viewers on ABC, comfortably the lowest rated and least-watched NBA Finals game on record (dates back to 1988). The previous lows were a 5.2 and 8.06 million for Nets-Spurs Game 2 in 2003. [Related: NBA Finals ratings history.]

As goes without saying, it was also the least-watched Finals opener on record. The previous low was 9.21 million for Cavaliers-Spurs in 2007.

The low rating is down 45 percent from last year’s NBA Finals Game 1 between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors (13.38 million viewers).

The NBA probably didn’t figure this large of a drop in ratings considering the Lakers boast an impressive lineup that features superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, while playing James’ former team that features Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro.

One of the factors that might have played into the ratings drop is the fact there are no fans in the stands. Virtual fans with cheering pumped into the broadcast are all well and good, but there’s no substitute for a live crowd.

Also, with all of the “activism” that has taken center stage in the NBA since it’s return from shutting down for COVID-19, and with James leading the divisive charge politically, it should come as no surprise that people have tuned out, realizing that the importance of extracurriculars like televised sports isn’t as high on people’s list as these leagues might like.

H/T: OutKick