We all saw this coming, but I don't think we realized it would be this bad: the Grizzlies-Spurs Western Conference Finals opener on Sunday drew a putrid 3.9 overnight rating, the lowest for a Conference Finals Game 1 since 2007, when both the Pistons-Cavaliers (3.5, TNT) and Jazz-Spurs (3.8, ABC) did worse than this series.
Let's put thie Game 1 in perspective, shall we? The game was down 41% from Game 1 of the Celtics-Heat Eastern Conference Finals last year on ESPN (6.6), and down 26% from Game 1 of the Thunder-Mavericks Conference Finals on ESPN in 2011 (5.3). The game was also down 32% from the 5.7 overnight that Game 1 of the Thunder-Spurs Conference Finals drew last year on TNT, and it's especially brutal when you consider that those three games were all on cable, compared to Sunday's game on network television.
The game also drew the third lowest overnight during these playoffs on ABC, behind just Game 1 of the Celtics-Knicks Quarterfinals (3.7) and Game 1 of the Grizzlies-Thunder Semifinals (3.8). It's the third lowest of 11 Conference Finals games aired on ABC as well.
To top things off, on a slow weekend for the NBA, the game got outrated by Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Knicks and Pacers on ESPN, which drew a 4.1 and aired on Saturday night.
I'd be interested to see how much every game of the Pacers-Heat Eastern Conference Finals on TNT outrates every game of ESPN's Western Conference Finals by, and I think I'd be willing to set the floor at 20%. The Memphis-San Antonio series had a chance to drag viewers in, but a 22 point blowout in Game 1 that no one watched isn't going to set the world on fire by any means.