Memphis and San Antonio, two very good basketball teams – albeit starless – in small television markets generated a horrendous TV rating for Game 2 Tuesday night on ESPN: a paltry 4.6 million viewers.
How bad is that? According to Sports Media Watch, it is the “least-viewed conference final game on cable since Jazz/Spurs Game 5 in 2007,” which only drew 4 million viewers.
2012 Western Conference Finals Game 2, Thunder vs. Spurs: 7.3 million
2011 Western Conference Finals Game 2, Thunder vs. Mavericks: 7.0 million
So Russell Westbrook’s injury led to no Kevin Durant in the conference finals, which meant a loss of over 2.5 million viewers for ESPN.
[Obligatory: Who cares about ratings/ratings don't matter/so what. Got that out of your system? Good.]
The worst aspect of the rating is that the game went to overtime. Memphis erased a 13-point 4th quarter deficit (thanks to flopping Tony Parker) to force an extra session, and it still wasn’t a ratings draw. If fans aren’t going to tune in for a competitive game that goes overtime … well, let’s see how Game 3 does
The silver lining? The game still did “win the night” on TV. So there’s that.