Ratings are in from the weekend sporting events, and two things stick out:
- Georgia-Bama averaged 9.611 million viewers on CBS. CBS says it peaked at 12.046 million viewers and was up 3 percent versus the comparable primetime game last year, Georgia-Notre Dame on September 21st. Georgia-Bama is the most-watched college football game on any network so far this season.
- NLCS Game 7 between the Braves and Dodgers averaged 9.662 million viewers on a Fox/FS1 simulcast.
Both of these numbers are higher than all six NBA Finals games. Game 5 of the NBA Finals had the highest viewership with 8.89 million viewers. Game 6, in which LeBron James clinched his fourth NBA championship, averaged just 8.29 million viewers.
There are a couple of caveats. NLCS had a dual simulcast and may not have beaten every NBA Finals game had it not been on both Fox and FS1. According to Showbuzz Daily, 2.274 million people (of the total 9.662 million audience) watched the game on FS1. The NBA Finals were broadcast only on ABC.
Game 4 of the NLCS this past Thursday averaged 5.039 million viewers on a Fox/FS1 simulcast. The most-watched ALCS game, Game 7 between the Rays and Astros, averaged 4.502 million viewers on TBS on Saturday.
Both football and baseball are in their natural seasons, while a COVID delay forced the NBA to compete with football and MLB playoffs. However, NLCS Game 7 was up against Sunday Night Football and still drew a much larger audience than Game 6 of the NBA Finals, which aired during Sunday Night Football but managed only 5.6 million viewers. At some point, the NBA will have to admit that it has alienated rather than expanded its viewership.