~7.4 million views for Game 1 of NBA Finals. The fewest amount since 1994 NBA Finals
According to The Hollywood Reporter, game 1 of the Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat brought in only 7.41 million viewers to ABC. This is the lowest viewership the finals games have seen since the 1994 Finals between the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks.
The viewership has gone down slightly below 50 percent from last year’s Game 1 between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors. The game 1 last year boasted 13.51 million viewers. This marks the fourth year in a row where game 1 of the NBA Finals has seen a decline in viewership.
Reasons for declining viewership in NBA Finals
There are many factors leading to this that it is hard to pinpoint it to one definite factor. First of all, nearly all sports league has seen the same decline. The NHL’s Stanley Cup Final performed even worse compared to last year. MLB has been down throughout its season and NFL has stumbled by a small amount as well.
Another reason is that the teams in the finals matter – Even though Miami Heat have proved themselves to be a better team, if Boston Celtics came out of the Eastern Conference, things might be different. NBA is a league with a very long history, with such a long history there is bound to be certain legacy teams.
The Boston Celtics boast a long line of pedigrees, including Hall of Famer Bill Russell. While the Los Angeles Lakers have always been a rival throughout the decade. Due to Boston Celtic’s loss in the conference finals and failing to meet the Lakers, certain fans will not be as enthusiastic.
Another contributing factor is the colliding of schedule since the finals also coincide with the NHL finals. With the ongoing NFL season, the viewership will have to be split between two sports. Certain fans also attribute the decline to the NBA ‘Product’ declining. The trend of the game being based too much around officiating, timeouts, and commercials turns viewers off.
The Remaining Games
Due to the unfortunate injuries of Miami Heat’s players in game 1 – Dragic with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot and Adebayo with neck strain. The finals is forecasted by many to be a clean sweep by the Lakers, giving LeBron James his fourth ring. However, Miami still has not given up:
Despite that, most predict the Lakers to win it by Game 6 at most. With all that said, Miami Heat have greatly outdid themselves and have a good future ahead of them with young stars Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo. What follows after the finals will be the 2020-2021 NBA Season which is a discussion on its own.