Skip to content

You are not tuning in to watch Spurs vs. Grizzlies

May 23, 2013, 3:15 PM EST

Memphis Grizzlies v San Antonio Spurs - Game Two Getty Images

The network suits at TNT have to be happy they have the rights to the Eastern Conference finals — they got the Heat and LeBron James to showcase. Indiana may be a small market to go against them (you know the network was pulling for the Knicks last round) but at least they have crossover stars.

ABC/ESPN has San Antonio and Memphis, and while fans may respect the games of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker they don’t tune in to watch them play.

That’s evidenced by the NBA Western Conference Finals ratings posted by Sports Media Watch (via The Big Lead).

Game 2 of the Grizzlies/Spurs NBA Western Conference Finals drew 4.6 million viewers on ESPN Tuesday night, down 48% from Celtics/Heat Game 2 last year (8.8M), and down 34% from Thunder/Mavericks Game 2 in 2011 (7.0M). Compared to Game 2 of last year’s Thunder/Spurs WCF on TNT (7.3M), Tuesday’s viewership declined 37%.

Ouch.

And it gets worse. That was the least viewed conference finals game since Jazz/Spurs in 2007. Even last round some of the games between the Thunder/Grizzlies and Warriors Spurs drew bigger numbers.

Those of us that love the game of basketball can preach about how the Spurs play a beautiful, smart game but that is not going to make people tune in and watch. Stars get people to watch. And while we can argue that Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are stars whose names crossover outside the world of basketball, the numbers don’t lie — people don’t tune in to watch them. The three lowest rated finals since 2000 all involved the Spurs.

Which means the ABC/ESPN network guys, who will broadcast the finals, are lighting candles in church in hopes the Heat make the NBA Finals.

Latest Posts
  1. James Harden, three Hawks players lead list of NBA All-Star Game reserves

    Jan 29, 2015, 7:27 PM EST

    Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

    DeMarcus Cousins and Damian Lillard were left off in the West.

  2. Timberwolves troll Kevin Love in advance of his Saturday return with Cavaliers (VIDEO)

    Jan 29, 2015, 6:42 PM EST

    Kevin Love Kevin Love

    A promotional video hyping the matchup features plenty of players, but Kevin Love is noticeably absent.

  3. Report: OKC front office backs Scott Brooks, may look to trade Reggie Jackson

    Jan 29, 2015, 4:39 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Six Getty Images

    Brooks may last the season, but may not if Thunder miss the playoffs. Jackson, meanwhile, has been marginalized ever since Dion Waiters was acquired.

  4. Dwyane Wade out indefinitely, says best case for his return is 2-3 weeks

    Jan 29, 2015, 3:56 PM EST

    Dwyane Wade AP

    Wade may be selected as an All-Star reserve Thursday night, but wouldn’t play in the midseason exhibition if the timeline holds true.

  5. Paul George, family discuss night of leg injury, recovery (VIDEO)

    Jan 29, 2015, 3:25 PM EST

    Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    “I looked down to see my legs, and I saw my bone. The second I saw my bone, I just lost it.”

  6. Rising Stars Challenge jerseys have a twist (photos)

    Jan 29, 2015, 2:02 PM EST

    See Andrew Wiggins’, Shabazz Muhammad’s and Dante Exum’s

  7. Report: Knicks ‘in play’ for Kevin Durant

    Jan 29, 2015, 10:19 AM EST

    2014 Summer Classic Charity Basketball Game Getty Images

    ‘Person close to Durant’ cites Thunder star’s fondness of Carmelo Anthony

  8. Dwight Howard out at least two games with swelling in his knee

    Jan 29, 2015, 9:43 AM EST

    Trevor Ariza, Dwight Howard, Patrick Beverley AP

    Rockets center requires further testing

  9. LeBron James dances to Kyrie Irving’s game-winner (video)

    Jan 29, 2015, 9:06 AM EST

    LeBron James LeBron James

    Happy times for Cavaliers. How long will they continue?

  10. One time can’t miss prospect Renardo Sidney trying to make comeback, reach NBA

    Jan 29, 2015, 8:30 AM EST

    Mississippi State v Baylor Getty Images

    Sidney is the poster child for the can’t miss prospect that missed.

  11. Five Things We Learned in NBA Wednesday: Is this rock bottom for Oklahoma City?

    Jan 29, 2015, 1:29 AM EST

    Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook AP

    The Sixers, Knicks and Timberwolves win on the same day? Isn’t that one of the signs of the apocalypse?

Featured video

Who should be All-Star Game reserves?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. C. Anthony (7943)
  2. K. Bryant (7661)
  3. R. Rubio (7262)
  4. H. Whiteside (7143)
  5. D. Howard (7094)
  1. K. Martin (7040)
  2. N. Batum (6770)
  3. K. Walker (6548)
  4. T. Jones (6296)
  5. D. Wade (6137)