The NBA’s TV ratings have continued their long decline, with the most recent numbers even worse than the historic lows the league suffered during the pandemic-stricken 2020 season.
According to Outkick, ratings across the NBA’s networks have tumbled over last year when all analysts blamed the coronavirus for the fall in the ratings. Headed into the final week of the season, the ratings for ESPN, ABC, and TNT’s broadcasts are down 13 percent over last year’s disastrous coronavirus season.
Last year’s numbers were assumed to be the lowest in NBA history because of the coronavirus. But this year, that excuse will not play since the bubble is in the past, and the league played business as usual for the 2020/21 season.
Coming into the 2020-21 season, NBA games on ABC — the league’s most prominent broadcast partner — were down 45% since 2011-12. Yes, 45%. Within that same time frame, NBA broadcasts on TNT were down 40%, and ESPN was down 20%. Come next week, this story will, somehow, read worse. ABC’s damning declines are most concerning. Last season, the NBA on ABC recorded its lowest average on record, 2.95 million. While exact figures are yet to be determined, ABC games this season will still come in lower.
The league’s TV ratings have done nothing but decline over the last several seasons.
In April, for instance, the NBA suffered another ratings disaster, with ABC falling 45 percent since the 2011-12 season, while TNT was down 40 percent, and ESPN was off 20 percent.
The story was exactly the same the month before when ratings crashed again after both LeBron James and Anthony Davis ended up on the injury list.