NBA Playoffs: Yet More Declines For TNT on Sunday and Monday; Thunder/Mavs Finale Up


Whether due to uncompetitive series this year or unusually high numbers last year, viewership continues to drop for the 2012 NBA Playoffs.

Game 4 of the Spurs/Jazz first round NBA playoff series drew 2.540 million viewers on TNT Monday night, down 24% from Spurs/Grizzlies Game 4 last year (3.354M) and down 17% from Magic/Bobcats Game 4 in 2010 (3.068M).

Later in the night, Grizzlies/Clippers Game 4 drew 3.313 million, down a more respectable 6% from Thunder/Nuggets Game 4 last year (3.539M), but up 22% from Trail Blazers/Suns Game 5 in 2010 (2.716M).

On Sunday night, Game 4 of the Lakers/Nuggets series drew 4.622 million viewers — down 26% from Lakers/Hornets Game 4 last year (6.281M), but up 47% from Nuggets/Jazz Game 4 in 2010 (3.156M).

Earlier in the night, Hawks/Celtics Game 4 drew 3.588 million viewers, down 20% from Magic/Hawks Game 4 last year (4.506M), and up 10% from Mavericks/Spurs Game 4 in 2010 (3.252M).

The finale of the Thunder/Mavericks series managed to buck the trend, as Game 4 earned 3.391 million viewers on Saturday night — up 8% from Spurs/Grizzlies Game 3 on ESPN a year earlier (3.131M), and up 75% from Hawks/Bucks Game 3 in 2010 (1.945M).

Excluding Saturday’s Spurs/Jazz Game 3 (viewership was not available), viewership has declined for eleven of the sixteen NBA playoff telecasts on TNT this year.

Of course, even though the numbers are down they are far from bad. TNT, as is to be expected during the playoffs, was the most-viewed cable network in primetime last week in total viewers and all key adult demographics.

(Sunday/Monday numbers from TV By the Numbers [1], [2], with additional information from Turner press release via The Futon Critic)