While the Los Angeles Lakers won an NBA title after a 10-year-long wait, NBA ratings remained surprisingly low. According to reports, the ratings for the Lakers-Miami Heat Finals were down by 70% since the 2018-19 Finals. Reports compared the NBA numbers to the NFL's vast viewership, even contemplating the cause behind the massive drop in ratings. In a recent report, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban spoke up about the low ratings, explaining why he thinks the NBA is at fault for the drop in ratings.
While talking to Variety's Megan Kelly, Mark Cuban spoke about the NBA's complicated relationship with China, along with the terrible NBA Finals ratings. While many reports have hinted at the league's support for the Black Lives Matter movement as a cause for the low ratings, Mark Cuban maintained that he doesn't think that's the reason. However, the 62-year-old business tycoon did end up blaming the league.
According to Cuban, the league's low ratings were a result of bad marketing on their part and not their support for social justice causes. While the ratings for the league have been steadily dropping, NBA Finals 2020 recorded a 70% drop since the 2018-19 NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors. NBA Finals 2020 featured the LeBron James-led Lakers, who were the favourites to win the current title.
Sunday night's Vikings/Seahawks game more than doubled the TV rating of the Lakers' Game 6 clincher in the NBA Finals, with the two broadcasts going head-to-head.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 13, 2020
Football ratings are a little down. But that context is nuts.
Cuban believes that the league did not do a "good job promoting" the finals. "I don't think it has anything to do with politics," Cuban said. "I just think we don't have the match-up and the storylines."
Cuban also spoke about the criticism the league faced due to their links with China. As per Cuban, the league has done enough to speak against human rights abuse in China. The NBA-China controversy has been ongoing since last year when Daryl Morey tweeted in support of Hong Kong protesters. The league faced immense backlash and lost hundreds of millions of dollars, while NBA games were banned and merchandise taken off stores.
"I personally put a priority on domestic issues. I'm against human rights violations around the world," Cuban said during his interview. He added that as China is a customer, he is okay with doing business with them. "And so we have to pick our battles. I wish we could solve all the world's problems. But we can't."