LeBron James’ victory cigar was barely extinguished before one of the post-series subplots surrounding the 2020 NBA Finals began to take shape. After the Lakers vanquished the Heat on Sunday to win the 17th title in franchise history, plenty of attention shifted to how the six-game series performed in the television ratings.

With the finals airing at the same time as the MLB playoffs and NFL regular season for the first time in history, the series averaged just short of 7.5 million viewers on ABC, making it the lowest-rated finals since such record keeping began in 1988, according to Sports Business Daily.

That 49 percent TV ratings drop from last year’s NBA finals was hardly unique. Similar trends have been present across the board in 2020, ranging from U.S. Open tennis (45 percent), U.S. Open golf (42 percent), Stanley Cup playoffs (61 percent), Kentucky Derby (43 percent), college football (30 percent) and even a roughly 10 percent drop in the first…



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