Here’s an interesting bit from CNBC’s Darren Rovell:
Nielsen: NBA Draft averages 3.2 million viewers, highest NBA draft rating in 15 years. Impressive given lack of stars.
Even though the Heat weren’t involved in any way, the NBA continued to break previous ratings records. Just another sign that the NBA is heading into a lockout just as viewer interest is as high as it’s been in years, especially since, as Rovell mentioned, there were so few stars in this draft.
America loves some good schadenfreude.
Miami Heat and LeBron James were on the brink of being knocked out and the nation wanted to watch, which is why the television ratings for Game 6 were the highest for a Game 6 in 11 years (the first of the Lakers three-pete titles with Shaq and Kobe).
(Look, I’d love to think America tuned in to watch the smart and efficient basketball of the Mavericks, that they finally get how special Dirk Nowitzki is, but frankly I don’t have that much faith in the American public. These are the same people who buy shape up shoes and watch the Kardashians.)
Game 6 generated a 15 rating (meaning about 15 percent of all television in the nation were tuned to the game), which is up from the 12.3 last year when traditional powerhouses (and larger television markets) Los Angeles and Boston were going at it. The 15 was the highest of any finals game this season and any of he first six from last season (Game 7 last year drew an 18.3).
That game caps off a playoffs and full regular season that saw ratings in the league up, saw interest in the league increase. There is a real momentum. It’s the one reason to hope the lockout gets solved before games are lost — that would kill everything that has been built. Both sides give lip service to that idea, but we’ll see what happens when the negotiations face deadlines.
It’s a glass half full or half empty kind of thing.
The facts are that Game 1 of the NBA finals Tuesday — Miami’s 92-84 win over Dallas — drew a 10.7 rating nationally, the highest rating for a Game 1 since the 2004 NBA finals (the Pistons vs. the Lakers of Shaq, Kobe, Karl Malone and Gary Payton).
That is a 3 percent increase over Game 1 last season, between the Lakers and Celtics. Remember that last year’s finals featuring the two biggest rivals and two of the most tradition heavy teams in the league saw a 20 percent jump over the 2009 finals.
But this game also trails the level of gains seen earlier in the playoffs, particularly on TNT, where the increases were closer to 25 percent.
CNBC’s sports business reporter Darren Rovell also tweeted this:
Prediction: As the Heat take more control of this series, ratings will continue to fall. Fans rooting against Heat will drop out.
Maybe. But previous series have not seen that kind of drop off involving the Heat. For the NBA to maintain or improve on the level of last year’s finals just emphasizes the momentum the league has right now. Momentum the lockout will kill if games are missed.