Despite the Celtics’ past and recent successes, the city of Boston continues to tune out the NBA’s biggest event.
Boston was the lowest rated of the 27 NBA television markets for Tuesday’s Heat/Mavericks Game 4, with a mere 4.5 rating. The second-lowest rated market was Milwaukee, with a comparably massive 6.7.
Even Seattle, which bitterly lost an NBA team in 2008, drew a substantially higher rating for the game (7.6).
The first three games of the series did not perform much better. Boston was the second-lowest rated NBA market for Game 1 (5.4), Game 2 (5.6) and Game 3 (6.2). Only Minneapolis-St. Paul, home to the woeful Timberwolves, drew lower ratings for the first three games.
The tiny ratings in Boston cannot merely be attributed to the presence of the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final. Boston has been a mediocre-at-best NBA market for most of the past decade.
During the 2000s, Boston and nearby Providence were routinely among the lowest rated metered markets for the NBA Finals. Boston finished dead last among metered markets in 2004 (4.3) and 2006 (3.3), and second-to-last in 2001 (6.8) and 2005 (4.0). Only Providence rated lower in ’01 and ’05.
While Boston could barely be bothered to tune into the NBA Finals, ratings for the series have more than doubled in Oklahoma City.
Through four games, the NBA Finals has averaged a 13.3 rating in Oklahoma City, up 102% from last year, and well above the national average. Tuesday’s Game 4 drew a 14.4 rating in the market.
Oklahoma City is just one of several markets in which each game of the NBA Finals has done better than the national average. Other such markets include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Cleveland, Orlando, Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Memphis and New Orleans, along with a few non-NBA markets such as Birmingham, Las Vegas, and Norfolk, VA.
Among the non-NBA markets to draw higher ratings than Boston for each game of the NBA Finals: Seattle, Kansas City, San Diego, Nashville, Cincinnati, Columbus (OH), Dayton, Jacksonville and Louisville.