The 2019 NBA Finals started off with a bit of a surprise with the Raptors defeating the overpowering Warriors. Yet the season-long ratings decline continued in the NBA. According to Sports Media Watch, last night’s 10.1 overnight rating was the lowest Game 1 of the NBA Finals number in a full decade.
Game 1 is down big year-over-year trailing last’s season Cleveland-Golden State matchup by 18 percent. Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals drew 19 percent higher than this year did with a 12.4 rating. Overall, the Raptors’ 118-109 victory scooped in the lowest NBA Finals game rating since Game 3 of the 2013 Finals, which was non-competitive, hard to watch blowout win by the Spurs.
It’s important to note, those watching in Canada are not tracked by Nielsen. But there is undoubtedly a decline in interest in NBA this postseason. The playoffs were down 14 percent heading into last night. Despite the praise many of the young stars receive, they clearly don’t have the drawing power of LeBron James. This season very well could be a glimpse into what life will be like without James for the NBA.
We will see if either the NBA or Warriors can rebound in Game 2.