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NBA Ratings Prove the League Is In an Undeniable Decline

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 […]

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Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.