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Game 3 television ratings for NBA Finals down from last year

Jun 13, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Spurs' Duncan and Heat's James battle for position in the first half in Game 3 of their NBA Finals basketball playoff in San Antonio Reuters

Blowouts are not good for television ratings, and two of the three 2013 NBA Finals games so far have been Joel Anthony and Tracy McGrady showcase time.

That’s not the only reason ratings have been down, but it’s one. Game 3 of the NBA Finals Tuesday night drew just more than 14 million viewers. That’s down about nine percent from a year but falls pretty much in line with the previous games in this series. These rat

Why are ratings down after a couple of years of steadily climbing? Probably a combination of things, starting with the Spurs never being a big draw. You don’t tune in to watch Tim Duncan. Never have. Not like you do other stars. The blowouts don’t help. And the national hatred of all things Heat has subsided somewhat as well (people aren’t tuning in to see them lose in the same numbers).

Ratings tend to climb as a series goes on, we’ll see if that happens with Games 4 and 5.

  1. acdc363 - Jun 13, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    I’ve already watched more games in this Finals than last year’s. I know I won’t get many more chances to see Duncan play.

    • doubledown44 - Jun 13, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      Yeah, I know some people want to blame the Spurs being in it, but I don’t think they are the real problem. Last year, a lot of writers said the Heat winning the title would be great for the NBA’s popularity and I strenuously disagreed. Now you are seeing why. Imagine the ratings this year if the Heat had lost the finals the past two years and Lebron was still trying to win his first title. The ratings would be much, much better.

  2. cantonbound13 - Jun 13, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    Time for Stern to get involved. Good news for Heat fans.

  3. triaxfusion - Jun 13, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    Maybe it’s because ESPN has literally beaten this horse to death. 24/7 coverage of lebron has annoyed everyone i know to the point they have zero interest in being a part of it.

    • kchristainsen - Jun 13, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      Yep. ESPN blows. Better off not watching. They only talk about sport topics that give them ratings. Hence never and NHL talk.

      • apkyletexas - Jun 13, 2013 at 11:47 AM

        Duncan is going for his 5th ring. Parker and Manu are going for their fourth rings. Wade is going for his 3rd ring. Ray Allen would dearly love a 2nd ring. Tracy McGrady and Boris Diaw are hoping and praying for their first ring.

        All that ESPN can talk about is “Lebron’s legacy”. What the hell? Are they not aware that a few more “legacies” are under consideration here?

  4. majorhavoc83 - Jun 13, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    The thing for me is that the games played in San Antonio start at 9 PM. Well, while my family all LOVES basketball, we have work and school to deal with. So, by 10 PM, we’re all done for the night. That barely gets us to half-time. It’s a bummer, but I only get caught up watching Sports Center in the AM while I’m working out! 😛

    • herkulease - Jun 13, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      Umm the games being played in San Antonio has nothing to do with the time played.

      All games are scheduled to start at 9PM eastern time. Only the games played on Sunday start at 8PM eastern(Games 2 and 5)

  5. gmsingh123 - Jun 13, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    I’m curious: what do ratings have to do with watching a quality basketball game? If the NBA is looking to make money, make the games more like wrestling. Spend a half an hour before each game with guys screaming out false bravado. Call two fouls when the other guy does a really good flop. There are tons of ideas to increase ratings. Why should a real basketball fan give two craps?

    • chicitybulls - Jun 13, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      If I could give you 50 thumbs up on this I would.

  6. justorion - Jun 13, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    I wonder if it counts people who record the game and watch it at a later time, start watching the recording 45mins after the game starts?

  7. nycalldayz - Jun 13, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    You don’t tune in to watch Tim Duncan. Never have. Not like you do other stars. Kurt u should be ashamed as a sports writer to make such a comment. If NBA fans can’t appreciate a player like Duncan, then they’re not true basketball or NBA fans. If NBA or basketball fans can’t appreciate Spurs style of basketball which is sharing and moving the ball, then NBA fans today have issues. So people would rather see Thunder/Heat? I don’t want to watch the Thunder get beat again by the Miami Heat. I want to see a competitive finals like the 2008 Lakers/Celtics, 2010/Celtics/Lakers, 2011 Mavs/Heat.

    • Kurt Helin - Jun 13, 2013 at 1:55 PM

      I’m not saying it’s right, I’m saying it’s reality. The three lowest finals ratings of the last dozen years are when the Spurs are there, this year there is a drop off. There’s a reason the Spurs don’t play in the big Christmas Day games as often as Kobe. People don’t tune in to watch, ratings are lower. Rail about how that is wrong all you want — I really enjoy watching the Spurs personally — but the numbers do not lie about national tendencies.

      • chicitybulls - Jun 13, 2013 at 2:48 PM

        To piggy back on gmsingh123’s point, what does ratings have to do with us as basketball fans? Who really cares about the ratings other than abc/espn? Real basketball fans couldn’t care less if bandwagon fans watch or not. Doesn’t take away from our enjoyment of watching a game. Just trying to figure out the point of the article.

      • Kurt Helin - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:04 PM

        You clicked on it then commented, so clearly you do care. Why? If it doesn’t impact you enjoyment, why?

      • chicitybulls - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:20 PM

        Let me be clear because I’ve seen you state this before to other posters. Just because someone clicks on a particular article (or even just the comments part as I did) doesn’t mean they care about the contents of it. I can only speak for myself but I clicked on the comments because I wanted to see if I was the only one wondering why ratings, or lack thereof, is a story. Clearly I am not. And I commented on it here in the comments section to pose a question that from reading the comments it would seem most have. I wouldn’t take the time to look up your email address and ask you privately. It just made logical sense to post it here since others have the same question. Do you not have an answer for us or is that snarky, self absorbed “I’m important and post important things because people click and comment on it” question-answer in response to my question your answer?

      • Kurt Helin - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:14 PM

        How do you think we measure interest in stories? Come on now. This isn’t about me or what I think about myself, honestly, how do you think everything is measured on the Web?

        If you actually don’t care, you don’t click on it. Apathy tells us plenty. Click on it and you have shown a level of interest in it, for whatever reason. I’ll tell you now, there have been in the past and will be in the future stories on this site about television ratings of games. Chose to read or not read them as you see fit.

      • chicitybulls - Jun 13, 2013 at 7:03 PM

        My “level of interest” was simply to pose a question on why fans should care about tv ratings. I thought I would pose the question to the one that posted the story thinking he would know because he decided to post the story. I guess, after 3 attempts now, I can’t get an answer. But I guess you’ll continue to post things just to get a hit (whether it be stories that add nothing or incorrectly spelled words or grammatical errors or more) and I’ll stick to comments section in the posts about actual basketball (even though I’ve seen them on other sites since all you do is copy and paste from others rather than come up with stories on your own).

      • Kurt Helin - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:24 AM

        The television ratings are a reflection of the popularity of the NBA and the series. That matters to some fans. If it doesn’t matter to you, don’t click on it. We post 25 items a day (give or take a few) at PBT every day, not all of them are aimed at every fan. It’s targeted at what people are talking about and what we find interesting. People have different interests. Some will get more hits than others, but we discuss the game and pretty much everything around it. Ratings are part of that, as are more Xs and Os posts. Again, if you don’t care don’t read the story. If you don’t care for the style of the blog, you are not forced to read it. I am providing information some readers find interesting, you have the choice of what to do with that information. You choose how you consume the media. And the choices you and others make impact the kind of media you get.

        This is more a democracy than you seem to think, and you vote with clicks. You clicked. That simple.

  8. nycalldayz - Jun 13, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Blow outs or time zone differences are excuses, Kurt. It can’t be helped if two teams win by large margins each game. As far as time zone that is expected when the other team is on west coast time.

    • Kurt Helin - Jun 13, 2013 at 1:51 PM

      Time zones are not a reason. Finals start times are set for that hour regardless of where the game is played.

  9. nycalldayz - Jun 13, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    And the national hatred of all things Heat has subsided somewhat as well (people aren’t tuning in to see them lose in the same numbers). You clearly live in a bubble KuRT Helin, because believe it or not people can’t stand the Miami Heat. LOL

  10. savvybynature - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    I don’t think it’s that people tune in to watch Kobe all that more than Duncan, I just think it’s that LA is a WAY bigger media market than San Antonio. If Duncan played in LA, I’m sure all the front-running Laker fans all over the world would be downright giddy watching him play in another Finals.
    Also, the last two game 3s were played on a Sunday if my memory serves me, while this one was on a Tuesday. Doesn’t it just make sense that a 9 pm game on a Tuesday would get less viewers than an 8 pm game on a Sunday? Is that really apples to apples?

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