more context as it relates to the NBA
The 37 percent decline is in line with the broader trend facing the sports industry since the wave of cancellations and postponements in March. The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs declined an almost identical 38% across NBC’s TV and digital platforms (from 1.53M to 953K) and the MLB Division Series sank 40% on TBS, FS1 and MLB Network (from 3.04M to 1.82M)
The decline in sports ratings comes amidst a broader decline in television viewing overall; an average of 76.2 million viewers were watching primetime television on the first five nights of the Finals, nearly eight million fewer than during last year’s Finals (83.8M).
Cable news viewing has taken up a greater portion of that diminished audience. Viewership on the “big three” cable news networks was 78% higher on the first five nights of the Finals than during last year’s series, rising from 3.8 to 8.4 million viewers combined.