Jun 2, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins (0) shoots the ball against Toronto Raptors guard Danny Green (14) in game two of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Game 2 of the 2019 NBA Finals saw the Golden State Warriors even the series with the Toronto Raptors, ensuring the Finals will go at least five games. While the win was good news for the Warriors, the overnight ratings were a different story for ABC.

The game registered a 10.2 rating with a 19 share, down 20 percent compared to last year. Game 2 did experience a one percent uptick from the series opener.

ESPN did its typical best to spin the numbers in a positive fashion::


The obvious takeaway is that without a second U.S.-based team, the numbers are down significantly, as ratings guru Anthony Crupi points out.

While the numbers are down, let’s look at a couple of factors. This Finals still hasn’t found its identity and the longer it goes, the better the ratings are likely to be. Should the series reach six or seven games, more casual viewers will tune in. Will that be enough to get ABC close to last year’s numbers? Most likely not until a Game 6 or 7.

And when you compare Sunday night’s Game 2 to other NBA Finals without the Cavs and Warriors, the ratings are quite comparable. The 10.2 for Sunday’s game was about even with the 2014 Finals Game 2 which had the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. And also with the 2008 finals which pitted the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. That’s despite not having a home market counting for ABC’s numbers.

Overall, the NBA Finals are off to a slow start ratings-wise, but they still have time to pick up some momentum, barring a five-game win for either team. ESPN/ABC executives are obviously hoping for a longer series, because that might be the only way to bring in more viewers than they’ve been able to so far.


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.