From Super Bowl to NBA Finals: Major Sports Championship Viewership Before, During and After COVID

·1-min read

The 2021 NBA Finals were about as successful as a Milwaukee vs. Phoenix matchup in July could be, and grew 32% in total viewers from last year's series (when the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat and the year-to-year TV audience cut in half). Of course, the 2020 NBA Finals faced much tougher challenges than this year's market-size hinderance -- namely a lengthy delay from summer to fall and a total of zero fans in the arena. But this year's NBA Finals viewership was also 34% below the last normal championships in 2019 -- when the Toronto Raptors upset the Golden State Warriors. This is where you can excuse away some of the 2019 to 2021 decline to a June-to-July delay, the lack of household names on the Bucks and Suns and the relatively low-wattage, low-population media markets of Wisconsin and Arizona. How have the championships for the other major sports performed over the same period of time? Super Bowl LIII in 2019 did all right, hauling in 98.5 million total viewers. That was a pretty boring game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams. The following year, the big game's audience ballooned to 101.3 million for...

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