The NBA Finals saw record low ratings for Game 1 on Wednesday night. Expect this trend to continue, barring a truly remarkable turn of events. Hopefully, that won't distract people from LeBron James winning his fourth NBA title.
There is also a hockey tournament that just finished. The Tampa Bay Lightning's Stanley Cup victory was the lowest-rated Final since 2007. Golf's U.S. Open saw low ratings last month. NFL ratings are up or down depending on the game and time slot.
The good news is that the PGA, NHL and NBA all pulled it off. They finished their events safely and got that sweet, sweet television cash. Golf has not been canceled. Professional hockey and basketball will be able to operate in 2021. Major League Baseball looks like they will be able to finish their season after some early hiccups. The NFL is experiencing their first bump in the road, but we all know the NFL will be be fine.
Basically, finishing sports in 2020 was about maintaining. Figuring out how to make things work while nothing in this country is working. Professional sports did it. Survive and advance.
The Lakers won Game 1 easily, which did not help ratings. The loss of Goran Dragic and injury of Bam Adebayo are likely to make this series even less competitive, which will prove to be a total disaster for ABC. This could end up being one of the most lopsided Finals in recent memory. Hopefully it isn't, but as long as LeBron and AD are healthy and the Heat are not, it might be!
Even with a competitive series, the ratings problem won't completely go away. Have you seen the news lately? When the election is over and sports return in 2021, things might get a little better, but everyone still has a half-dozen streaming subscriptions and unlimited options. Live sports are still king, they're just a tinier king. Like Yogi Ferrell.
The most important thing is that we don't let this distract us from the fact that LeBron is about to win his fourth ring. Seriously, the only rating that matters is LeBron's all-time. These are the final great years of his career. If you don't want to watch that, I can't help you.