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Channel-turning viewers handed the NBA another L on Tuesday.
Game 1 of Heat-Celtics drew only 4 million viewers. The average is down significantly from last season’s Bucks-Raptors’ 5.5 million.
Number-to-number, that’s ugly. Factor in last night featured one of the NBA’s premier franchises, the Celtics, and last year a team from Canada, it is officially a tank-job.
Two years ago, Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Cavs and Celtics drew 7.2 million viewers, per SportsMediaWatch. That doesn’t make this look better.
The NBA is in trouble. Its viewers have turned away. The first round was down an eye-popping 27% year-over-year. In addition, the first round’s 1.94 million average is down 40% from two seasons ago, the last time LeBron James participated in the playoffs.
Since 2012, NBA viewership on broadcast TV is down, a make you blink, 45%.
This is not a COVID problem; like the NFL, the NBA went political. Except the NFL went semi-political, which was enough to turn its Week 1 ratings into a disaster. Professional basketball went all-in. Some would say re-defined the word “woke.” NBA players aren’t merely making statements, these guys are telling you how to vote, think, and if you are a racist.
Forget an escape, the NBA is a lesson. A lesson catered to social justice warriors and hosts on ESPN. In other words, not many Americans.
Worst of all, LeBron James is the biggest hypocrite in America. LeBron has yet to break his silence on Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s challenge to match reward money for the horrific police shooting in LA.
As for spin-master Mark Cuban, he has yet to tweet about this result. If he does, and he probably won’t, expect a well thought out disingenuous spinning with blocked comments.
*Follow Bobby Burack on Twitter @burackbobby_, and on Parler @bobbyburack.