Crushed: NBA Ratings Sink To Lowest Ever

The NBA finals now join the respective NHL and Major League Baseball championship series with some dire TV-ratings performances. The San Antonio Spurs' sweep over the Cleveland Cavaliers will mean this NBA finals will sink to the lowest-ever numbers among all viewers, as well as key 18-49 watchers--posting a preliminary 5.6 rating. That's down 34% over last year's finals featuring the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks.

Thursday's game four, which took in a 6.5 household rating/12 share and 9.9 million viewers, was higher than game three's 5.4 rating. Still, the series will sink to the lowest average rating for the NBA finals. That previous honor went to the 2003 NBA finals when the Spurs beat the New Jersey Nets in six games, pulling in a 6.5 rating/12 share.

It didn't help that the Spurs and Cavaliers core home markets were small.

"Spurs haven't been a ratings draw for sometime. But San Antonio is the 37th largest market, with Cleveland, the 17th market," said Brad Adgate, senior vice president and corporate research director for media buying firm Horizon Media. "They were the lowest-ranked market teams in NBA history."

But the NBA isn't alone. Major League Baseball has felt the sting of viewers' rejection. Last year's World Series posted its lowest numbers ever--a 10.1 rating in households and a 4.9 rating among 18-49. In addition, the NHL's Stanley Cup Finals also recently witnessed its lowest numbers ever.

Only the NFL remains the top choice among viewers: Five of its playoff games received 20 household ratings or more this past season, with the Super Bowl scoring its best viewer numbers in over a decade: more than 91.1 million.

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