October 8, 2020 | 9:40am | Updated October 8, 2020 | 10:19am
It’s a clean, four-game ratings sweep for the NBA Finals.
While Game 4’s ratings for Lakers-Heat showed an uptick from the prior three games, viewership on ABC has now set an historic low as the four least-watched finals games in recorded history.
Game 4 saw the audience rise to 7.54 million viewers, which was ahead of Game’s 3’s 5.94 million viewers. The Game 3 number set a new low since finals ratings were recorded in 1984, according to Sports Media Watch.
Perhaps sparked by the Heat’s upset in Game 3, Game 4 was the most-watched of the series, which the Lakers now lead 3-1. Game 5 is Friday. The first three games each set futility records.
There were a total of 6.6 million viewers for Game 2, which broke the Game 1 record low of 7.4 million. ESPN/ABC did not respond to a request for comment.
Competing against the baseball playoffs and NFL has hurt the NBA, which normally holds its finals in June. The sterility of the Disney World bubble environment with no homecourt advantage could also be a factor.
Lines.com surveyed 1,105 fans with 19 percent voting the 2020 NBA Finals are not valid.
According to sources, commissioner Adam Silver still is surprised at the low audience with LeBron James chasing his fourth title at age 35. Silver is aiming for next year’s NBA Finals to not compete in the crowded sports month of October.
Silver has made general comments that could signal a belief the emphasis on Black Lives Matter has resulted in a ratings fall.
Silver said next season he doubts players will be permitted to wear social-justice messages on their jerseys and the BLM logo isn’t expected to be on the floors of home arenas. The commissioner is wary if these worthy gestures continue next season, “a certain amount of fatigue” would offset the messaging.