Report: Jazz, NBA Seeing Ratings Increase In Return

Jul 31, 2020, 1:46 PM | Updated: 2:17 pm
Rudy Gobert TIp Off (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)...
Rudy Gobert TIp Off (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NBA saw a steep climb in ratings upon its return within the Orlando bubble Thursday night. According to the website Outkick.com, the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans drew 2.1 million viewers, while the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers drew 3.8 million.

According to numbers from variety.com, the Jazz reopener drew nearly double the average viewers for a typical game broadcast on TNT. While the Lakers and Clippers matchup nearly tripled the average.

In 2019, the NBA saw a sharp decrease in viewership. The league lost 15% of its viewership from last season to this season according to numbers from December. The drop in viewership has been attributed to a slew of injuries to some of the NBA’s top players. Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Kawhi Leonard, and Zion Williamson have all missed significant time this season. Additionally, Leonard, LeBron James, and Paul George now all reside on Los Angeles based teams, pushing the broadcasts into the late national window on the East coast.

According to OutKick, the numbers trailed Major League Baseball’s debut last weekend. The New York Yankees and Washington Nationals drew four million viewers, while the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants pulled in 2.8 million viewers.

The numbers didn’t account for shared viewership among regional sports network.

Can Playoffs Boost NBA Ratings?

The NBA will hope to see a sharp increase in viewership once it enters the postseason. Each of the league’s 22 teams that returned to Orlando will play eight seeding games before the playoffs begin.

Though the league has seen a decrease in Finals’ viewership over each of the last two seasons, broadcasts still average well above 10 million viewers each game during the championship round. After missing a significant chunk of the regular season, the NBA will need to see high ratings numbers to close the season to make up for lost income.

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