April 18, 2021
Last season was an all-time rating low for the NBA. Until this season. Which is even worse. Coming into the 2020-21 season, NBA games on ABC — the league’s most important partner — were down 45% since 2011-12. On cable, it’s only slightly less damning.
To stick with more recent trends, the past two NBA Finals crashed to double-digit declines, with the most recent falling down 51% to an all-time record low. Last season’s NBA on ABC games fit that same category, recording the lowest average (2.95 million) on record. According to The Athletic’s Ethan Strauss, that record will break once again this season.
“Eventually, it will be official: The NBA again lost viewership on its ABC games, down from last season’s all-time low,” Strauss writes. “Based on how this average drops as the season moves along (it starts off highest after the Christmas games bonanza), we can safely project that the ABC games will finish at a mark that’s lower than last season.”