NBA Finals Ratings Plunge To All-Time Low As Fans Shun League's Divisive Politics
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Things continue to worsen for the National Basketball Association as toxic racial politics and bending the knee to China have completely destroyed the league's brand.
The latest bit of bad karma for the NBA and its scowling frontman LeBron James came calling this week when the championship series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat set a ratings record.
The record being that game one was the least-watched NBA finals game of all time, a new low with a staggering 44 percent drop from last year as only 7.41 million viewers tuned in to the hyped matchup.
If there was an idea that a finals series featuring King James would be the right ticket to boost ratings after a dismal postseason in the Orlando bubble, that bubble was just punctured.
Via The Hollywood Reporter, "TV Ratings: NBA Finals Opens With Record Low Audience":
The NBA Finals posted record-low TV ratings on Wednesday, consistent with steep declines throughout the postseason and with other sports whose seasons were delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. Fox's The Masked Singer, meanwhile, grew in its second week in a positive sign for the broadcast networks.
The opening game of the series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat brought 7.41 million viewers to ABC, the smallest audience for the finals since at least 1994, when total viewers began to be regularly recorded. The previous low was 8.06 million for Game 3 of the 2003 NBA Finals.
The game, which took place about four months later than the usual start date for the NBA Finals, was down by about 45 percent in total viewers vs. the U.S. audience for last year's finals opener between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors. The two conference finals series that wrapped up last week were down a collective 35 percent year to year. The NHL's Stanley Cup Final series, also delayed by several months, was down by more than 60 percent for NBC Sports. Major League Baseball has also struggled during its shortened season.
The disastrous plunge in ratings is another sign that going full "woke" by allowing players to display political messages on their jerseys, painting Black Lives Matter on the courts, and running ad spots lecturing viewers about racism is going to be a successful long term marketing strategy in the United States.
The ultimate result will be that young black athletes of the future will no longer find the jackpot of riches that is currently bestowed upon the league's top players, advertisers will flee and the next television contract will almost certainly be negotiated with the NBA's now-tarnished brand as leverage for networks.
Not that it bothers LeBron, he made his bank and after he collects his ring and the NBA trophy next week could retire from the league and live like a true king.
James just plunked down over $36 million for a Beverly Hills mansion, a crib where the legendary screen actress Katherine Hepburn used to live.
LeBron James closed on his third home in Los Angeles this week, a 13,000-square-foot mansion in Beverly Hills. He paid $36.75 million, slightly below the original listing price of $39 million.
The property, built in the 1930s, belonged to the estate of Lee Phillip Bell, who died earlier this year and was best known for co-creating the soap operas The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless with her late husband, William. It was previously owned by other celebrities, including actor Charles Boyer and Howard Hughes, who leased the mansion to his onetime lover Katharine Hepburn.
The home boasts four bedrooms, seven bathrooms and two guesthouses, along with a tennis court and movie theater. It sits on 2.5 acres and has views of both Beverly Hills and the Pacific Ocean. James will likely tear the house down and build a new, larger estate.
Having destroyed the popularity that was painstakingly built by those who came before him like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, King James has left nothing but crumbs among the rubble that his on-court successors will inherit when he departs.