1. While the NFL is only suffering from a very slight ratings dip, the NBA has seen a severe viewer tune out. The question is, just how alarmed should the league be by this development?
Here are the numbers for the first three games of the Finals between the Heat and Lakers.
Game 1: 7.4 million viewers
Game 2: 6.1 million viewers
Game 3: 5.9 million viewers
Those numbers for Game 2 and 3 are all-time lows for the NBA Finals.
Now for the perspective.
Game 2 took place on a Friday night. The NBA never plays a Finals game on a Friday night because viewership for Fridays is terrible.
Game 3 took place on Sunday night going head-to-head with the NFL.
That explains the dip of 3 million viewers from Game 1 to Game 3.
The real issue is that the first game drew seven million viewers while last year’s Finals between the Warriors and Raptors averaged 15.1 million viewers.
Obviously, scheduling is a huge issue. The NBA Finals take center stage in June, when they have to compete only with the NHL and regular-season baseball. Now the Finals are competing with the NFL, postseason baseball and college football.
As with the NFL, you can’t discount how much cord cutting and cable news are hurting network television. Cable news ratings are up 37% from a year ago. Network prime time ratings are down 47%.
Even with all these factors, the league has to be worried about the Finals having no ratings juice at all, especially with the Lakers and LeBron James in there.
You don’t need me to tell you this was far from a traditional season, and the games play differently on TV without fans in the building and the crazy atmosphere of an NBA crowd.
You could’ve made the argument that with this being such an unusual season, the NBA could throw this year’s ratings out the window and just focus on next season, but the viewership numbers for the past two games are so bad they have to worry the league.
2. Aaron Rodgers gave us the worst best flex you’ll ever see last night.
3. As someone who gave up fantasy football three years ago, in one of the best decisions of my life, I especially enjoyed this tweet from injured Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
4. This week’s Bad Beats is worth your time as always.
5. If you love weird stats, here’s a doozy about Alex Bregman.
6. Recent guests on the SI Media Podcast include Al Michaels last week, Dan Patrick two weeks ago and Kevin Harlan three weeks ago. If you missed any of the episodes, catch up today and subscribe to the pod.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: The great ’80s Nickelodeon show, Double Dare, debuted on this date in 1986. Did you know Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan once appeared on the show?
8. SPORTS VIDEO OF THE DAY: Here is the Week 4 edition of Angry Runs.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.