TV Numbers A Growing Concern for NBA Finals

The NBA Finals matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns isn't the sexiest one of all-time. With the two mid-sized markets competing against each other, early returns on viewership haven't been great, even if there are signs of improvement between Game 1 and 2.  
Ratings have increased over the 2020 NBA Finals, which pitted the Miami Heat against the LA Lakers. However, last year's Finals were the lowest in NBA history, as the pandemic hit viewership numbers hard across all sports. 

It's noteworthy that the NBA actually dipped the least amongst hockey and baseball playoffs numbers during the pandemic. Also of note, a recent Marist Poll indicated that the NBA's involvement in politics has hurt its ratings, as 70% of Republicans said they are less likely to watch live sports due to athletes' calls for racial justice. 
Some positive news to take from the ratings conversation is that both Milwaukee and Phoenix area viewership has gone way up. The two franchises, with a combined one NBA Championship, are driving solid numbers in Wisconsin and Arizona. 
Of course, a compelling series would do wonders for ratings, and if the Bucks can cue the comeback and take Game 4 behind another dominant performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo perhaps we will continue to see the numbers rise. 

Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports