MLB ratings crash following league’s protest of Georgia election integrity bill

The television ratings for Sunday Night Baseball, Major League Baseball’s primetime show on ESPN’s weekend lineup, have tanked 49% from the previous year.

The Sunday Night Baseball airing of the Cardinals-Braves game averaged just 931,000 viewers on ESPN this past weekend, “down 49% from the comparable window in 2019.” Making it the least-watched Sunday night game this season, according to Sports Media Watch.

On the previous day, MLB games airing on FOX averaged only 1.41 million viewers, making them the least-watched FOX telecast of the season.

Last Sunday, TBS averaged a mere 359,000 viewers for its season debut of the A’s-Yankees game, “down 46% from its first game last season,” SMW notes. Last week, ESPN averaged 445,000 for the Red Sox-Braves game, down 30% from 2019.

The MLB ratings crash comes as game 2 of the NBA Western Conference crashed 33% from 2019.

“Tuesday’s Clippers-Suns NBA Western Conference Finals Game 2 averaged 5.27 million viewers on ESPN, up 66% from last year’s Nuggets-Lakers Game 2 in the “bubble” — which aired opposite Sunday Night Football (3.17M) — but down a third from the comparable Blazers-Warriors Game 2 in 2019 (7.88M),” according to SMW.

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The drop in ratings since 2019 for the NBA is notable considering 2020’s season was marred by the coronavirus pandemic, causing less interest in sports due to stadiums and events being closed to fans. When this year’s ratings are measured up to the last “normal” season for the NBA, the ratings are down 33%. The drop in ratings comes after the NBA openly embraced the Black Lives Matter movement as well as after NBA star LeBron James caused controversy over his anti-police tweets.

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