TNT (-23%), ESPN (-20%) see massive ratings decline to start 2019-20 season
The NBA’s popularity has grown exponentially over the years — both at home and overseas. However, the league’s television ratings, including those from TNT and ESPN, are down by quite a healthy margin to start this season.
According to a report from John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, the NBA’s television ratings for national broadcasts on TNT are down by 23 percent from a season ago, while broadcasts on ESPN are down 20 percent. It’s still early in this campaign, but early returns have not been good.
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) December 3, 2019
The NBA landscape changed drastically this offseason, with several star players moving to new teams. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George teamed up on the Clippers, while Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant joined the Nets. The Los Angeles Lakers had a new arrival as well, as they paired Anthony Davis with LeBron James.
There are likely a few factors playing into the NBA’s early-season decline in viewership, including the NFL season and the decline of the Golden State Warriors, whose ratings are down a whopping 51 percent on NBC Sports Bay Area. Furthermore, several of the league’s stars have dealt with injuries through the early stages of this campaign, including George, Durant and Irving. Oh, and let’s not forget about the new trend of load management that seems to be taking hold.
Hopefully, viewership will begin to rise as the season progresses.