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Saturday, June 16, 2007

World Cup Final Had More American Viewers than NBA Finals

In somewhat of a surprise, and what will be a statistic that Commissioner David Stern et al will not like, the NBA finals had the lowest television ratings in history. San Antonio defeated Cleveland in four games, but the Nielsen ratings were pathetic: 6.2 with an 11 share on the ABC network. The World Cup final between Italy and France had higher viewership in the desert of world football.

"That was down 27 percent from the 8.5/15 for Miami's six-game victory over Dallas last year and 5 percent under the previous low, a 6.5/12 for San Antonio's six-game win over New Jersey in 2003. The NBA finals averaged 9.3 million viewers this year." (1)

Note: A ratings point represents about 1.1 million American households.

"The World Cup final had 12 million viewers on ABC, along with 5 million more on Univision." (2)

Which goes to show that the NBA, along with the mainstream media, has no right to call San Antonio "World Champions." Even if the most valuable player, Tony Parker, was from France. It was obvious that Americans had very limited interest in this series. Or anyone else. Media in this country like to call the NBA the "world game" because the best stars play here. But the rest of America and the world did not watch this event. Kobe Bryant, a fan of the world game of soccer, was in Barcelona watching their team work out ahead of the deciding game of the La Liga championship on Sunday. "I came to enjoy my favorite football team, Bryant said after security guards let him into the Nou Camp stadium. It is a privilege to be able to watch Barca train." (3)

For an interesting global comparison, please click here to view the world's most watched TV events during 2006. Last year's NBA finals were ranked 10th. The World Cup final was ranked 1st.


(1) NBA finals suffer record-low TV ratings, Yahoo! News, 15 June 2007.

(2) The Fourth Star: Italy Wins the FIFA World Cup Championship in Berlin, (My column; 09 July 2006).

(3) Lakers Star Kobe Bryant makes surprise visit to Barcelona practice, Yahoo! Sports, 14 June 2007.

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