The steep and steady decline in NBA viewership this year, even with ESPN fully pushing coverage since their TV rights deal, is part of a longer downward trend that started after the 1998–99 NBA lockout. While some playoff games have had decent ratings during the decline the trend is still this: significantly fewer people are paying attention to the NBA. The recent NBA All-Star game in March hit a new ratings low. Less than 6 million viewers watched the much-hyped game.
The Sports Business Journal reports, NBA games broadcast on ESPN, ABC and TNT averaged only 1.4 million viewers this season. A 13% decline from last season when the numbers were already way down. In comparison the average B1G Network wrestling match draws 150,000 viewers. The B1G finals session dew 324,322 viewers. The finals session on ESPN drew