When the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship aired this year, it got a big jolt in ratings. The reason for the increase may not be a huge surprise. It's because UConn was not in it. A team that had blown out teams for who knows how long eliminated in the Final Four gave viewers a chance to watch something exciting. While no doubt the NBA will see a Part III to the Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, you have to wonder when enough is enough of these teams.
With the way the playoffs have been this year, many will wonder if the sport is not exciting in terms of non-Finals games. Certainly, the Warriors game against the Spurs in the first game of the West Conference Finals, had all sorts of drama. Then the next game was a blowout and as of now, Golden State is one game away from going back to the Finals. Cleveland annihilated the Boston Celtics in game 2, winning by 44 points. Both teams have big superstars who have huge presences on TV, social media, etc. It's not just the Warriors and Cavs. There has to be at least one superstar on a team, even if said team is bad.
For ESPN and ABC, they have benefited a whole lot since the 2008 Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. I think it helps that the Finals haven't been sweeps and that a number of them have gone six to seven games. The amount of drama and storylines to these teams and players really gives them that ratings increase. Their biggest prior to last year was Game 7 of the 2010 Finals between the Lakers and Celtics with 28 million watching the Lakers get their championship. They might as well enjoy this because eventually, some of these players are going to be on other teams, retire or do something else.
That being said, people do get tired of seeing the same teams in the playoffs every year. I don't think that's a problem with the Warriors yet, but it could be soon. Regardless of your team, people will get tired of San Antonio, Houston, Boston. The list goes on. People were probably tired of the Lakers before they got bad the last three to four years. For the NFL, people are probably tired of Green Bay and New England constantly being the playoffs. I don't think MLB has the problem as much today, but with Atlanta, the New York Yankees, Boston, and St. Louis back then, it's not a pretty sight.
Some viewers might watch the Finals if they have ignored the playoffs. It's a matter of games being close, and so far, it hasn't been that way. This stuff becomes predictable and it leads to viewership not being strong before the championship series. No doubt, this years Finals will be huge. It's going to get the NBA a lot of money and ratings. How far this will go, I give it at least six games. As I just said, the league should enjoy this for now. I don't think we will ever see this again for a long time. Last thing anyone wants to see is something like the 60s Celtics teams.
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