The Los Angeles Lakers’ 4-2 victory over the Miami Heat is being described as the lowest-rated National Basketball Association (NBA) finals series on record after 5.6 million viewers tuned in to watch game six on commercial network ABC.
Though according to the release by Fanatics, Lakers and LeBron James merchandise delivered record sales, on the ratings front LA Lakers triumph could not register well with the audiences.
The audience figure was equivalent to a 2.1 rating in the 18 to 49 age bracket but marked a significant drop compared to game six of last year’s finals series, when 18.34 million viewers watched the Toronto Raptors clinch the title against the Golden State Warriors.
This year’s champion-crowning game, which saw the Lakers ease to a 106-93 win on 11th October, was not even the most-watched sports broadcast of the night in the US, as the Sunday Night Football fixture between the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks drew an audience of 11.4 million viewers on NBC.
The finals were averaging 6.71 million viewers after three games and attracted an audience of 7.54 million for game four and 5.7 million for game five. Based on the reported figures, the average viewership across the entire series was just over 6.4 million.
The NBA is not alone in seeing its ratings plummet since returning to action in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has created a backlog of sporting events and a cluttered television schedule. This year’s Stanley Cup, Kentucky Derby also saw 30-40% low ratings on American television.