2017 NBA Finals: Was It Worth It To The League?
The NBA peaked at the end, but what about the other 99% of the season?
The 2017 NBA Finals are over, and to the surprise of absolutely nobody, the Golden State Warriors won the whole thing.
It would have also averted surprise if the Cleveland Cavaliers repeated. What would have been a shock? Any team but those two taking the championship.
That’s how the 2016-17 NBA season unfolded. From nearly day one, fans assumed Golden State and Cleveland were on a collision course. To start next season, the same expectations will exist. The whole year built up to the 2017 NBA Finals, which ended in five games. Was it worth it for the NBA?
2017 NBA Finals: A Five-Game Season
Raise your hand if you heard basketball analysts say the whole season was a charade until the Finals. Me too, and we’re not alone. Golden State and Cleveland were far and away the best teams in their respective conferences. Sure, there was a chance one of them would lose, but the playoffs started and both teams overwhelmed the opposition like flatulence in an elevator.
The fans knew this, and the ratings responded.
NBA regular season on RSNs: 5 year low
Total NBA viewing on national networks: 5 year low
Finals average viewership: 19 year high
— Michael Mulvihill (@mulvihill79) June 13, 2017
Plenty of people skipped the regular season and waited for the inevitable meeting of Golden State and Cleveland. To be fair, the ratings spiked for the Finals as fans hoped for an entertainment factor. A series doesn’t have to go seven games to be good, though some would argue this one wasn’t among the best.
2017 NBA Finals: Success or Failure?
The fact that the NBA got great ratings for these Finals, knowing that these were the two teams to watch all year, is a plus. That will be justification all day long for the head office. As for the other franchises in the league, they’re probably not doing cartwheels.
After all, NBA fans, most likely the casual ones, skipped out on the rest of the season. While it was very good for the league’s championship, fewer people watched everything else. It was as if the fans, like the league in practicality, squeezed the whole thing into those five games.
What’s not good for the NBA going forward is people assuming that the rest is all theater until the Finals. Some entertainment league that only entertains you in the last series of the season. At least the people will know they’re getting a good product then. It just might not be worth it the balance of the year. However, you know the NBA will look at the Finals ratings and ignore everything else. That’s vindication for them.