NBA Finals draw similar audience to Sunday Night Football

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The NBA is enjoying a post-Michael Jordan resurgence when it comes to the championship round, with the most-watched NBA Finals since Jordan played in his last postseason with the Bulls in 1998. But even with Round Three of the Warriors vs. LeBron pushing the average audience to a 20-year high-water mark, the numbers serve as a reminder that football is still king, James.

Even with the biggest audience in a generation, the NBA Finals averaged 20.4 million viewers for each of the five games between Golden State and Cleveland, with no real competition elsewhere on TV. In contrast, NBC’s Sunday Night Football averaged 20.3 million viewers in 2016, despite constantly facing first-run programming like The Walking Dead.

So, yes, basketball is doing better than it has at any time since Jordan became only a shoe salesman. But the NBA still has a very long way to go to become what the NFL continues to be.

12 responses to “NBA Finals draw similar audience to Sunday Night Football

  1. Imagine what the NFL’s numbers and revenue might look like if the league weren’t helmed by a blundering dunce who is booed by nearly every fan group. Imagine them, owners. So much money left on the table.

  2. Baseball and basketball have the same issue; super long seasons and seemingly even longer playoffs/ championships. What’s the total viewership and total gate sale at the end of the full season? I’ll bet they’re much more similar than the game to game, week to week comparisons.

  3. The NBA is doing well but one issue I see for them down the road is if people will tire of the same teams on TV and in the finals all the time. At least in the NFL sure you have the same good teams but it is never a done deal like it is in the NBA.

    The NBA is doing really well but I don’t think you can compare how they are doing to how the monster that the NFL is. Think about it their finals with the two most popular teams only is approaching a regular NFL Sunday night game.

  4. The NFL is pretty boring these days. Besides that fluke, once in a lifetime Super Bowl, the entire season was pretty dull. The young talent coming up are a bunch of selfish brats: see Odell beckham. Brady is the last ratings draw remaining.

    The nba is looking up these days. Their emerging young talent is incredible.

  5. The NBA is a joke league. CLE vs GS is like Lakers vs Celtics in terms of talent so of course it was a draw. The regular season? Garbage. They just signed a new deal and already people are talking about labor problems and teams overspending. It’s a fixed league, with a fixed draft lottery, fixed games, refs on the take, might as well be the WWE.

  6. I’m surprised anyone watched the finals. Who wants to watch a team of all stars play a team of one star?

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