To be fair, the 2020 NBA season, (along with any other sports leagues that make it to their conclusion), has been a mess that will be accompanied by an enormous asterisk in the record books.
This is obviously due to complications of the COVID-19 global pandemic that saw the league shut down for several months on end, and began again with only an abbreviated campaign. This was enough to turn some viewers away, often lamenting that they would just pick up their fandom again in 2021 when things get back to “normal”.
But now the league is facing another challenge, as viewers continue to tune out on account of the league’s sudden foray into politics.
Viewership on ABC is down 23 percent and the numbers are down 20 percent overall compared to last year’s playoffs
“The Lakers’ win ranks as ABC’s least-watched playoff opener in five years (2015 Pelicans-Warriors: 3.49M), with the caveat that this year marked the first time since 2004 that it did not air a game on the opening day of the postseason,” Sports Media Watch added.
The league has tried to blame the coronavirus and its effects; however, SportsBusiness Daily recently noted that ratings for last season were also bad, as the 2018-2019 season lost 12 percent in viewership. That, of course, was pre-pandemic.
Other ratings reckoning also finds the NBA has lost viewers. ShowBuzz, for instance, notedthat the league lost 28 percent in the important 18-49 age bracket.
The ratings for the regular season haven’t been terribly solid either, with MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show drawing more viewers than the NBA programming back in August.
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