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Ratings for a “crucial” series-deciding NBA playoff game featuring star LeBron James fell under ratings for an otherwise ordinary Tucker Carlson program on Thursday, leading some to speculate the league’s ‘woke’ Black Lives Matter messaging continues to chase fans away.
“The NBA took another L Thursday night,” Outkick reported, meaning the league took a ‘loss.’
“Despite 24-hour hype, the LeBron James-led Lakers-Nuggets Conference Finals Game was TKO’ed by Tucker Carlson,” the outlet continued. “The crucial, series-changing Game 4 drew 4.6 million, while a random Thursday episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight brought in 4.74 million.
“Remember: this is the Western Conference Finals, with the NBA’s premier team, and its biggest individual draw in LeBron,” Outkick’s Bobby Burack noted further.
The site has regularly reported on the NBA’s falling ratings since it restarted over the summer amid the COVID-19 pandemic and has often compared them with those of Fox News hosts and programs broadcast in the same time slots.
“Head to head on Monday night on cable: Tucker Carlson viewership: 4.5 million. Lakers-Nuggets viewership: 1.5 million. Head-to-head on Tuesday night: Sean Hannity: 4.6 million, Blazers-Mavs: 930k. Yikes, NBA,” Fox Sports Radio’s Clay Travis, founder of “Outkick the Coverage,” wrote on Twitter in mid-August.
“The NBA also lost in viewers aged 18-49 to three Fox News shows on Tuesday night,” he added.
The NBA also lost in viewers aged 18-49 to three Fox News shows on Tuesday night. https://t.co/WCA099bU5a
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) August 13, 2020
The comparison drew a response from billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, who claimed the dearth in NBA viewership was due to a coinciding political event.
“Lol. You do realize that was the day @JoeBiden picked @KamalaHarris? Nothing makes a Fox News viewer want to get lied to more. And while we are at it, explain why advertisers pay 3x or more for a prime time @Nba spot over a Fox News Spot? And who has had advertiser boycotts?” Cuban wrote in a tweet that has since been deleted.
In his story, Burack looped Cuban back in.
“At this point, Mark Cuban must dig deep for a disingenuous spin-job. Perhaps, he’ll see losing to only Carlson a positive trend? Wednesday, both Carlson and Sean Hannity — with his 5.2 million viewers — took it to the NBA playoffs’ 4.5 million. Moving in the right direction, Cuban may say,” he wrote.
Burack went on to say that ratings for the league — which has allowed teams to paint “Black Lives Matter” on courts and players wear all sorts of BLM messaging — “have redefined tanking.”
He wrote that Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals posted the lowest number of viewers in 17 years. Meanwhile, Burack said that the first round of the NBA playoffs was off 27 percent year-over-year and down 40 percent from two seasons prior, the last time James was on a team that made the finals.
Burack then said the sports media was largely ignoring the drop-off and suggested that it would be worse if the coverage was there.
“Luckily for the NBA, sports media is refusing to cover the collapse in viewership. At ESPN, the ratings beat is merely reserved for when the NFL is down and the NBA is not in the tank,” he wrote.
The Outkick writer then posted a graphic to Twitter showing how the media reacted when the NFL’s ratings fell as social justice protests grew.
— Bobby Burack (@burackbobby_) December 3, 2019
Site founder Travis noted in a podcast that the NBA’s Thursday game’s ratings were even lower than those for a basketball documentary about one of the game’s stars from two decades ago.
— OutKick (@Outkick) September 24, 2020
“The NBA ratings have tanked. Guys, not ONE NBA playoff game has outrated the Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls documentary that aired on ESPN about the 1990s,” he said.
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