NBA Finals ratings are way up from last season
Despite having two small-market teams facing off in this year’s Finals, the NBA is enjoying a significant ratings boost from last season.
The league announced this week that the average number of viewers for Game 2 of the 2021 Finals was 9.38 million, which is a 41 percent increase over Game 2 of the 2020 Finals. The average through two games is 8.97 million viewers, which is also up 26 percent from 2020.
Viewership for Game 2 of the NBA Finals on ABC is up 41% percent from last year.
The series continues Wednesday, July 14 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. pic.twitter.com/fY3mJT9hq4
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) July 12, 2021
Last year’s Finals featured two of the most successful franchises of the 21st century in the Los Angeles Lakers, led by LeBron James, and the Miami Heat, led by Jimmy Butler. But it was an anomaly in that it took place in the Orlando, Fla. bubble near the height of the pandemic. This year’s Finals are between two less-heralded teams in the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks. But from Chris Paul to Giannis Antetokounmpo, the star power certainly is not lacking either.
It is worth nothing however that the 2021 Finals are still way down in ratings from the Finals in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
NBA Finals Game 2 TV viewership averages in recent years…
2021: 9.38M Suns-Bucks
2020: 6.61M Lakers-Heat
2019: 13.89M GSW-TOR
2018: 18.47M GSW-Cavs
2017: 18.47M GSW-Cavs
(Nielsen data via @paulsen_smw) https://t.co/Jh28wRfymq
— Bill Shea (@Bill_Shea19) July 12, 2021
Regardless, the Bucks won Sunday’s Game 3 to make the series competitive again, which should help keep viewers tuned in. The NBA has experienced excellent television ratings throughout these playoffs as well.