The NBA has looked at Christmas Day as their personal showcase for quite some time. However, they might start looking at it differently after looking at the ratings.
The NBA got thoroughly dominated by the NFL on Christmas Day. The NFL’s late Christmas offering of Browns-Packers garnered more viewers than the entire slate of NBA games. For example, the NBA’s featured game, Nets-Lakers, only drew 5.75 million viewers, five times fewer than the nearly 29 million who watched the Browns and Packers.
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – DECEMBER 25: Aaron Jones #33 of the Green Bay Packers s tripped up by Greedy Williams #26 of the Cleveland Browns during a game at Lambeau Field on December 25, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
As Sports Media Watch reports:
Facing Colts-Cardinals, Nets-Lakers was the top NBA draw with a 2.4 and 5.75 million on ESPN and ABC — down 19% in ratings and 18% in viewership from Mavericks-Lakers last year (3.0, 7.01M) and 47% and 34% respectively from Clippers-Lakers in 2019 (4.6, 8.76M), neither of which faced the NFL.
Brooklyn’s win marked the least-watched primetime NBA Christmas game since Rockets-Thunder on ABC alone in ’17 (4.98M), not coincidentally the last such window to face the NFL.
And the bad news continued for the rest of the NBA’s slate.
According to SMW:
Warriors-Suns averaged a 2.1 and 5.19 million opposite Browns-Packers, actually up 6% in ratings and 21% in viewership from Nets-Celtics opposite the NFL last year (1.95, 4.28M) but down 35% and 21% respectively from Rockets-Warriors sans NFL competition in ’19 (6.55M).
Celtics-Bucks was a mixed bag with a 2.0 (-9%) and 4.93 million (+3%), while both of ESPN’s exclusive games declined. Hawks-Knicks drew a 1.4 (-19%) and 2.92 million (-16%), marking the least-watched Christmas game in that window since 2013 (Bulls-Nets: 2.78M). Mavericks-Jazz brought up the rear with a 0.7 (-34%) 1.52 million (-26%), the least-watched Christmas NBA game in any window since 2016 (Timberwolves-Thunder: 1.39M).
There was a time when woke ESPN analysts predicted that the NBA would once day replace the NFL as the country’s most popular sport. Not that there was ever really a chance of that happening, but the NBA turning itself into a platform for radical leftist organizations like Black Lives Matter did not help their cause.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 04: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers along with Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers kneel during the National Anthem against the Houston Rockets in Game One of the Western Conference Second Round. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Go woke go broke definitely seems to apply here.