The 2013 NBA Finals has been only an average television draw thus far.
Game 2 of the Spurs/Heat NBA Finals drew an 8.5 final rating and nearly 14.6 million viewers on ABC Sunday night, down 18% in ratings and 13% in viewership from Heat/Thunder Game 2 last year (10.4, 16.7M), and down 9% and 6%, respectively, from Mavericks/Heat Game 2 in 2011 (9.3, 15.5M).
Spurs/Heat ranks as the lowest rated and least-viewed Game 2 of the NBA Finals since Magic/Lakers in 2009 (8.2, 14.1M), and the lowest rated NBA Finals game overall since Lakers/Magic Game 5 the same year (8.0).
After 17 straight NBA Finals games drew at least 15 million viewers, the first two games of Spurs/Heat have failed to reach that mark.
Though Spurs/Heat trails the past three years, it should be pointed out that these numbers do not represent a return to the mid-2000s dark ages of the NBA. Sunday’s game topped all-but-one Game 2 from 2003-09, ABC’s first seven seasons airing the NBA.
In addition, the game earned the largest Game 2 audience ever for an NBA Finals involving the San Antonio Spurs, topping the previous high of 14.0 million for Knicks/Spurs in 1999. The Knicks/Spurs game did have a higher rating (9.6).
Game 2 drew a 5.8 rating among adults 18-49, down 18% from Game 2 last year (7.1), and down 11% from Game 2 in 2011 (6.5). The 5.8 is tied with 2009 as the lowest Game 2 rating in the demo since Lakers/Celtics Game 2 in 2008 (5.5).
The 5.8 is television’s largest rating in the demo since the Louisville/Michigan NCAA Tournament title game on CBS April 8 (8.4).
The last time the Spurs were in the NBA Finals — 2007 — Game 2 between the Cavaliers and Spurs had a 5.6 final rating, 8.6 million viewers, and a 3.4 rating among adults 18-49.
(Sunday’s numbers from Media Life Magazine)