The first NBA telecast of the season on ABC to not feature the Heat, Lakers or Celtics hit a two-year low in overnight ratings.
ABC drew a mere 1.7 overnight rating for the Magic’s blowout victory over the Suns Sunday afternoon, down 43% from last year (BOS/CLE: 3.0), and down 26% from 2009 (DAL/LAL: 2.3).
The 1.7 overnight is the lowest for an NBA game on ABC since Heat/Pistons in March 2009 (1.4), and the seventh-lowest since the network resumed airing games in 2002*.
Excluding games that aired opposite the NCAA Tournament, this marks ABC’s third-lowest NBA overnight.
Over the past three seasons, ABC has aired just eight regular season NBA games that did not feature the Lakers, Celtics or LeBron James‘ team. Seven of those eight games have drawn a 2.1 overnight or lower, the lone exception being a Christmas Day Spurs/Suns game (3.6).
Of course, the low numbers for Sunday’s game cannot be solely attributed to the absence of big name teams. The Suns stood just 9th in the Western Conference entering the game, played without star Steve Nash, and were blown out in an uncompetitive game that ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy frequently panned.
* Overnight ratings not available for Sixers/Pacers in March 2006, Timberwolves/Rockets in January 2004 and Spurs/Celtics in January 2004.