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Game 6 Ratings Dwarfed By Sunday Night Football

“Sure, the NBA game had higher stakes, but even in June, when the Finals are usually played, the numbers do not compete with primetime NFL broadcasts.”

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The Los Angeles Lakers were crowned champions of the NBA on Sunday night, but the NFL was still champion of sports television. NBC’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and the Minnesota Vikings had more than double the audience of what turned out to be the last game of the 2020 NBA Finals.

An audience of 11.4 million people tuned in to watch football. They were rewarded with a game that came down to a touchdown pass thrown with just 15 seconds left on the clock. By contrast, LeBron James’s fourth NBA title (the Lakers’ 17th) drew just 5.6 million viewers.

Liam McKeone of The Big Lead writes that this isn’t that big of a deal and certainly shouldn’t be a surprise. Ratings are a fun talking point for some, but in reality this isn’t a reason to panic.

“The NFL should not be used as a baseline for any ratings discussion for anything on television, much less the NBA, because it regularly posts outlandishly high numbers,” he says.

McKeone says that the reality is that the NBA has never been the NFL in terms of ratings. Football is engrained as a part of American culture on Sundays. Sure, the NBA game had higher stakes, but even in June, when the Finals are usually played, the numbers do not compete with primetime NFL broadcasts.

Adam Silver and the rest of the League Office is certainly concerned about the decline in ratings, but there are explanations. The NBA was playing during a time of year it usually does not. There is more competition not only from the sports world, but also from other types of broadcasts and streaming services. There is probably at least some people that were turned off by the league’s social justice messaging as the White House and right wing media outlets have suggested. Plus a presidential election and a worldwide pandemic is effecting viewers’ habits.

“So, in summary, yes, SNF blew a championship-clinching NBA Finals game out of the water in terms of viewership,” McKeone concludes. “The NBA is undoubtedly not pleased about that. But that does not mean the ship is sinking and the league may as well disband. It simply means the NFL is still king, and the NBA was negatively affected by COVID-19. Like literally everyone else. It’s as simple as that.”

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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