Despite a dominant win by LeBron James and the Heat, Game 2 of the NBA Finals drew just a 10.2 overnight rating, the lowest for a Finals game since Lakers-Magic Game 5 in 2009. Game 2 this year was also down 14% from Heat-Thunder in 2012 (11.8) and 3% from Heat-Mavericks in 2011 (10.5).
There are some interesting notes about this game that throw the reasons behind the low rating into question. Firstly, the 10.2 was actually the highest national overnight of all of the Spurs' Game 2s in the past, topping the 10.0 mark set by the Spurs-Knicks matchup in 1999. The game was also down locally in both Miami and San Antonio, drawing a 29.7 in Miami which was down 3% from 2012's Game 2 (30.3) and 16% from 2011's Game 2 (35.3), and drawing a 32.7 in San Antonio was which down 24% from 2007's Game 2 (Spurs-Cavaliers, 42.9) and down 25% from 2005's Game 2 (Spurs-Pistons, 43.4).
So, what can you make of it? Maybe the Spurs' national appeal is slightly up, while the local interest in them and the Heat are down. Maybe, despite the rise in national popularity for the Spurs, it's still far behind that of the Thunder. Maybe Dwayne Wade, who has had two underwhelming games thusfar this series, is more critical to ratings success for the Heat than we imagined.
There really are several reasons you can think of that could cover the ratings failings of this series so far, but all things considered, I'm willing to bet that these ratings are a best case scenario for ESPN after the Thunder got bounced by the Grizzlies in the Western Conference Semifinals.