LeBron James left a box office buzz during this year’s NBA Playoffs. Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t. According to Sports Media Watch, regular season games across ESPN and ABC averaged about the same as last year, but TNT averages were down 12% from last season. The NBA has also noticed a decline in the ratings.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver sat down with TODAY’s Craig Melvin to discuss several things concerning the league. Silver didn’t hold back his opinion about this year’s NBA playoffs, specifically concerning the dip in TV ratings.
“Face it, LeBron is one of the biggest stars in the world, and he also played in the East,” he began. “And so, the reason I look a little bit tired is a lot of our games are in the West, and it’s late at night. And I recognize most people choose to go to sleep at a reasonable time. And so, from a rating standpoint, not having LeBron in the playoffs, not having him in the East, has clearly impacted ratings.” The ratings for this year’s Lebron-less playoffs were down as much as 18%.
Adam Silver: LeBron James leaving East hurts TV ratings, NBA could start West Coast games earlier https://t.co/RHG8bJBkF8
— Dan Feldman (@DanFeldmanNBA) May 21, 2019
Although it ended in a sweep, the Western Conference ratings were much higher than the previous time ESPN had the West Finals. But the ratings during the regular season also saw a sizable drop, which most again attributed to LeBron’s first season outside of the Eastern Conference.
Silver also floated the idea of potentially starting Western Conference games earlier so that the bigger television markets in the Eastern U.S. would be able to watch the league’s best players and teams.