Sunday , Jun , 10 , 2007 Oly Sandor

LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers & San Antonio Spurs Unappealing To Fans In Game One

Fans tuned-out LeBron’s debut in the NBA Finals … Game one between the Cavs and Spurs drew the all-time lowest television rating for a finals’ opener … And on Sunday the NBA will go head-to-head with the Soprano’s finale … Sandor argues fans are tuning out the finals because they’re tired of defensive basketball … Click here for this story …

The Associated Press is reporting that viewers had little interest in game one of the NBA Finals between the and :

Game 1 of the NBA Finals drew the lowest rating ever for an opening-game in prime time, dropping 19 percent from last year.

The San Antonio Spurs’ 85-76 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night earned a 6.3 rating and 11 share on ABC. The previous low was a 6.4/11 in 2003.

Last year’s Game 1 between and earned a 7.8 rating and 14 share.

The rating is the percentage watching a telecast among all homes with televisions, and the share is the percentage tuned in to a broadcast among those households with televisions on at  the time. A ratings point represents 1,114,000 households.

Game two’s ratings could also be low. After all, the Cavs and Spurs are going up against the series finale of The Sopranos. David Aldridge, a USA Today writer and fan of the Sopranos, likes the idea of putting a television set in the media tent, so reporters could watch the final episode:

Normally, the missus and I would watch the show together and debrief each other afterward. This week, though, that will not be the case. A certain sports league that shall remain nameless     – though it rhymes with "Rational Casketball Association" – has decided, in its infinite (lack of) wisdom, to schedule Game 2 of its championship series not only on the same night as the series ender, but also at the same time.

Now, one could stick one’s fingers in one’s ears for 21/2 hours tomorrow, one supposes, so that one would avoid hearing plot developments while Tony Parker continues to eviscerate the     Cavaliers’ half-court defense. (Um, playing zone? Getting Eric Snow out of mothballs? Something that might keep Parker out of the paint? Seems that that would be the way to go if you were Cleveland coach Mike Brown.)

There is talk of setting up space in the media hospitality room for a postgame viewing. "Could you make that happen for us?" a Cavs person asked. "Cause we want to watch it, too."

My Quick Take: NBA fans wanted to watch an offensive team in the championship round. That’s why they loved Don Nelson’s ‘We Believe’, small-ball crew. That’s why and the are universally adored.

Most hoop heads yearn for a return to the eighties when run-and-gun basketball was the norm and not the exception.

Everybody loved the Showtime Lakers. Nothing was better than Magic receiving the outlet-pass, swooping down court before tossing a no-look dime to James Worthy for an easy one-handed flush.

It was supposed to happen this year. An entertaining team was supposed to qualify for the NBA Finals, proving that wide-open basketball wasn’t some gimmick to appease fans.

It didn’t happen. The Suns lost in six to the Spurs. The Warriors got bounced by the Jazz.

San Antonio, Cleveland, and Detroit showed that defense still wins games and NBA Titles.

It just doesn’t win over fans.

That’s why so many people tuned out game one of the NBA Finals. Nobody cared that LeBron was making his finals debut. They’re tired of  grind-it-out basketball.

And chances are those fans will be turning to Tony Soprano on Sunday night.

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