The TV ratings are in, and Game 1 of the 2007 NBA Finals was the... (all together now):
Worst. Ratings. Ever.
(You knew I had to get one in before the day was over.)
Technically, it was the worst TV ratings ever for a Game 1 in NBA Finals history. Overall, it was the third-least-watched Finals game ever. You have to go back to 1981 to find a lower-rated game in NBA Finals history. And consider that was in the pre-cable era, let alone pre-Internet.
What does it mean? It means that contrary to the loud voices you hear propping up the theory, LeBron James - for all of his amazingness - doesn't move the needle. (Not even when they run the game on every network in the extended family.)
At least, he doesn't move the needle enough. If the NBA and its TV partners want to spin this positively, they can consider what the ratings would have been like WITHOUT LeBron, if the Pistons had won the East.
But make no mistake: It's not a good sign for the NBA. And if they figure things can't possibly get worse for Game 2, they could be very wrong: They programmed the game against the series finale of the Sopranos.
Normally, I would say that sports are TiVo-proof and scripted shows are what you TiVo and watch the next day. However, in this case, the Sopranos finale is so huge that you won't want to have NOT watched it live.
Since watching TiVo'ed sports pretty much sucks, that means it is sizing up as a zero-sum decision from 9-10 p.m. ET: You either watch the Sopranos or watch the NBA. I know what I think is going to happen.
And so the question is: Can it really get worse than "worst?" Answer: Yes.
This has been great everyone. Thanks for the comments and tips. Keep 'em coming. I'll see you all in the a.m.
Game 1 Third-Lowest-Rated Finals Game [SportsMediaWatch]