NBA Playoffs: Spurs/Grizzlies Down 50%, Lowest Rated Conference Final Since 2007


A lackluster Spurs/Grizzlies series finished with a series-high on Monday night, but that was still down big from previous years.

Game 4 of the Spurs/Grizzlies NBA Western Conference Finals drew 5.2 million viewers on ESPN Monday night, down 53% from Heat/Celtics Game 4 last year (11.1M), and down 30% from Mavericks/Thunder Game 4 in 2011 (7.4M).

Compared to Game 4 of last year’s Thunder/Spurs WCF on TNT (6.5M), Monday’s viewership declined by 20%.

Spurs/Grizzlies earned the smallest audience for a Game 4 in the Conference Finals since 2007, when Spurs/Jazz Game 4 drew 4.6 million on ESPN and Pistons/Cavaliers Game 4 drew 4.7 million on TNT.

Game 4 was the only telecast of the four-game series to earn at least five million viewers. To put that in perspective, seven of the 11 second round games involving the Spurs and Grizzlies topped the five million mark — with five of the six Spurs/Warriors games drawing a larger audience than any Spurs/Grizzlies game.

On Saturday, Game 3 of the series drew 4.9 million viewers — down 35% from Heat/Celtics Game 3 last year (7.6M), and down 20% from Mavericks/Thunder Game 3 in 2011 (6.2M). The game also trailed Game 3 of last year’s Thunder/Spurs WCF on TNT (7.1M) by 31%.

Like Monday’s Game 4, Saturday’s game ranks as the least-viewed Game 3 of a conference final since 2007, when Spurs/Jazz Game 3 on ABC drew 4.7 million and Pistons/Cavaliers Game 3 on TNT drew 4.4 million.

The four-game Spurs/Grizzlies Western Conference Finals averaged a 3.1 U.S. rating on ESPN and ABC, down 50% from Heat/Celtics last year (6.2), down 28% from Mavericks/Thunder in 2011 (4.3), and the lowest rated NBA conference final since Spurs/Jazz in 2007 (2.8).

Last year’s Thunder/Spurs WCF on TNT averaged a 5.0 U.S. rating. The last four-game sweep in the Conference Finals — Nets/Pistons in 2003 — also averaged a 3.1 rating on ESPN/ABC.

(Series average from ESPN, additional information from TV By the Numbers [1], [2])