“In other action, ESPN averaged a 1.1 and 1.80 million for Lakers-Raptors on Saturday night and a 1.1 and 1.72 million for Rockets-Mavericks on Friday night, both above the network’s pre-hiatus average of just under 1.5 million,” Sports Media Watch reported.
Twenty-two teams are resuming the season in Orlando, with many of the games being carried by national network partners ESPN/ABC and TNT.
Ratings were already suffering prior to the hiatus in March, according to a late February report from Sports Business Daily.
National television viewership for NBA games had nosedived 12 percent since the end of the season compared to 2018-19, per the Sports Business Daily story.
At the time, ABC ratings were down a whopping 16 percent, and that’s the network that carries the Finals. “ABC, in particular, was hurt by lower numbers on Christmas and a slower start for its Saturday night slate,” Sports Business Daily reported.
Meanwhile, TNT viewership was down 13 percent and ESPN was down 10 percent.