David Stern’s greatest fear seems to have materialized. It is the worst kept secret in the NBA that Stern hates the Spurs for being a low ratings draw. The elimination of the two LA teams, OKC which has Durant and the interesting Cinderella story of the Golden State Warriors, the Spurs-Grizzlies matchup is a worst case scenario when it comes to TV ratings.
per Sports Media Watch
Even with an overtime finish, Game 2 of the Grizzlies/Spurs series was a poor draw on ESPN.
Game 2 of the Grizzlies/Spurs NBA Western Conference Finals drew 4.6 million viewers on ESPN Tuesday night, down 48% from Celtics/Heat Game 2 last year (8.8M), and down 34% from Thunder/Mavericks Game 2 in 2011 (7.0M).
Compared to Game 2 of last year’s Thunder/Spurs WCF on TNT (7.3M), Tuesday’s viewership declined 37%.
Grizzlies/Spurs Game 2 ranks as the least-viewed conference final game on cable since Jazz/Spurs Game 5 in 2007 (4.0M). Every single conference final game from 2008-2012 drew at least five million viewers, and every game from 2009-12 drew at least six million.
The series even pales in comparison to the second round of this year’s playoffs. Grizzlies/Thunder Game 2 drew 4.8 million viewers on TNT May 7, and Warriors/Spurs Game 2 scored 5.3 million on TNT May 8.
Final ratings and viewership were not immediately available for Sunday’s Grizzlies/Spurs Game 1 on ABC. The game drew a 3.9 overnight rating.