NFL Draft Beat NBA Playoffs in TV ratings
But USA Today‘s Tom Weir captures it with particular brutality: “Preliminary ratings show that television viewers preferred watching NFL prospects walk to a podium last night over seeing NBA postseason baskebtall action.” Ouch.
According to Bloomberg, ESPN’s coverage of the NFL draft outdrew the two NBA playoffs on TNT last night. An ESPN spokesman said the draft was seen in 5.4% of households in the top 56 U.S. markets. A TNT rep said the Cavaliers-Bulls game had a 2.1 rating, and the later Lakers-Thunder playoff earned a 3.0.
Those are all preliminary numbers. An Associated Press story this afternoon said the overnight ESPN number was 5.47. But the draft also was shown on NFL Network, where AP says it drew a 0.95 rating, for a combined total of 6.42.
Anyway you cut it, that’s a rough night for the NBA, considering it had superstars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant playing.
And that’s without me. For the first time in years, I skipped the draft, aside from a few minutes right at the beginning and, by sheer chance, the Dallas Cowboys’ pick of Dez Bryant right before I turned in for the night. It’s not so much that I wasn’t interested as the fact that it went from being on a Saturday to being on a Thursday night.
But the bottom line is that the NFL is far and away the dominant force in American sports. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has a point in criticizing the NFL for shifting it schedule like this — there’s an understanding that generally prevails so that the leagues don’t step on one another. But almost anything the NFL does — a meaningless preseason game, the fairly boring draft — will top even the playoffs in the other sports.