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Playoff blowouts not good for television ratings

May 21, 2010, 10:57 AM EDT

It has been the postseason of blowouts. And sweeps. There just has not been a lot of drama these playoffs. That has continued into the conference Finals, where the Lakers and Celtics have looked on a collision course and far better than their opponents.

Who wants to watch that?

Not a lot of you, it turns out. SportsMediaWatch is reporting that ratings are down

Wednesday’s Suns/Lakers Game 2 drew a 4.4 U.S. rating and 7.0 million viewers on TNT, down 4% in ratings and viewership from Magic/Cavaliers Game 1 on the comparable night last year (4.6, 7.3 mil), but up 7% and 13%, respectively, from Spurs/Lakers Game 1 in ’08 (4.1, 6.1 mil).

Compared to Game 2 of last year’s Nuggets/Lakers West Finals on ESPN, Wednesday’s game was down 10% and 11%, respectively, from a 4.9 and 7.9 million viewers… Suns/Lakers Game 2 is the second straight Conference Final game to have a decline in ratings and viewership versus the comparable night last year.

So far these playoffs, 60 percent of games with a comparable night the year before have drawn lower ratings than the year before. And all the sweeps means fewer high drama (meaning high rating) games as well.

That said, the ratings have been solid, just not spectacular. However, after reading this David Stern walked down to his local church and said a prayer for a Lakers/Celtics finals.

  1. D. - May 21, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    Ratings may be down compared to last year but, as the article points out, they’re up compared to 2008, 2007 and 2006. And ABC games are up even compared to last year.
    “That said, the numbers for the Conference Finals have been far from bad. Through Game 2 of each series, TNT and ESPN are averaging a 4.5 rating for the Conference Finals (3 games) — down from last year (4.7, 4 games), but up from 2008 (3.9, 4 games), 2007 (2.7, 3 games) and 2006 (3.7, 4 games).
    The 4.5 average is the second-highest through this point of the Conference Finals on cable since the current cable-heavy format went into effect in ’02.”

  2. Frank - May 21, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    The NBA is rigged and everyone knows it. That is why viewership doesn’t grow. It has become like wrestling, more about theatre and crowd favorites than a real sport. David Stern is the worst commisioner of any sport in history.

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