Monday, May 27, 2013

East vs West: A Look at TV Ratings for NBA Conference Championships

The conference championships for the NBA have been two completely different stories regarding television viewership. Many factors can be looked at when assessing viewership. The size of the television markets in the area surrounding the teams is a big factor. Another significant factor is the time that the games are played. Many east coast viewers prefer a start time of 8:00 or 8:30 rather than after 9:00. Although significant factors can be looked at when assessing viewership, the factor that is most telling is fan interest in the game.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Game one of this series was a Sunday afternoon game. This game was far from successful in strength of television viewers. This game was the lowest rated conference final opener since 2007. The game drew a 3.9 overnight rating on ABC. A popular game one of the conference finals last year was the Heat vs. Celtics. This game as a comparison was viewed by 41% more people.

Game two was not much better for the series. Although the game went to overtime, only 4.6 million viewers watched the action. As a comparison, game two of the Heat vs. Celtics series last year drew 8.8 million viewers.

Not clear enough information is available for game three or four, but it can be expected that ratings were not strong as the series ended in a sweep.

Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers
Game one of this series started on a Wednesday night. Although the time of week was not ideal, this game drew a 5.3 rating with 8.2 million viewers tuning in. Game one ended up being a great game that Miami edged out in overtime. The large difference in game one viewership between the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference represented the biggest gap since 2004.

Game two and three do not have information posted yet. You can expect game two viewership to be high because it was a great game that Indiana was able to win. Game three may have less of a viewership because the result was decisive.

Final Thought
A clear interest has been shown in the Heat and Pacers series. The same can not be said for the Western Conference Finals. The presence of the big three in Miami certainly attribute to the ratings. Although the Western Conference Finals ended in San Antonio sweeping Memphis, the series was closer than it may appear. If Miami goes on to play in the NBA Finals, I expect television ratings to be about average compared to other seasons. If the Pacers can upset the Heat in the east, I expect television ratings to be down for the Finals.


1 comment:

  1. The Heat have really been carrying the entire playoffs, ratings wise. The Spurs are putting on a show in the west, but for some reason their fundamental style of play doesn't resonate with the casual NBA fan. Heat vs. Spurs in the Finals probably has the highest ratings potential, IMO.