Game 2 ratings for NBA Finals increases from Bucks-Suns opener

Jul 12, 2021, 9:28 AM
Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker (1) shoots against Milwaukee Bucks' P.J. Tucker (17) during the second h...

Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker (1) shoots against Milwaukee Bucks' P.J. Tucker (17) during the second half of Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals, Sunday, July 11, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

(AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

An average of 9.4 million viewers watched Game 2 of the Milwaukee Bucks-Phoenix Suns NBA Finals last Thursday, according to ESPN.

That was an uptick from the series opener in Phoenix, which averaged 8.56 million viewers across the country and peaked around 10 million about two hours and 15 minutes into the game.

The Suns won Game 2, 118-108, to take a 2-0 series lead before the Bucks on Sunday won at home at Fiserv Forum.

Locally in Phoenix, a 23.7 market rating for Game 1 was the highest since the 2000 championship opener between the Lakers and Indiana Pacers. For Game 2, that jumped to a 24.9 rating in Phoenix and registered at 24.8 in Milwaukee.

Viewership for Game 2 was up 41% compared to a year ago.

Combined, the average viewership of the first two games (8.97 million) is up 26% from 2020, when the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat played in the bubble.

However, ratings for last year’s Finals made for historic lows.

In 2019, the NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors saw Game 1 and 2 combined viewership average 13.78 million.

While some of that would suggest star power — LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant — matters, timing does as well. These early July Finals fall into the usual free agency time period, while the bubble Finals at Disney World in 2020 took place in late September and early October.

Game 4 of the NBA Finals tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. and will air on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Phoenix Suns

Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes shoots over Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) during ...
Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns Deandre Ayton records first double-double in loss to Kings

Center Deandre Ayton had a strong performance, but the Phoenix Suns lost to the visiting Sacramento Kings.
23 hours ago
Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges goes to the basket against Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holme...
Kellan Olson

Kings’ offensive firepower presents good test for Suns’ recent defensive issues

The Phoenix Suns' defense hasn't been up to par three games into the season and they are hosting a Kings team with lots of offensive skill.
2 days ago
Ishmail Wainright #12 of the Toronto Raptors brings the ball up the court against the New York Knic...
Sam Graveline

Ish Wainright relishing new opportunity with Phoenix Suns

After playing overseas for a handful of seasons, new Suns forward Ish Wainright feels blessed to have a spot on an NBA team.
2 days ago
Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the first half of the NBA game against ...
Kellan Olson

Suns can tighten up during lengthy homestand after challenging open to season

The Phoenix Suns get an extended break at home after starting the season with three games in four days and a road back-to-back.
3 days ago
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, right, is defended by Portland Trail Blazers forward Robert Covingto...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns get pounced on by Blazers in blowout loss

The Suns looked like they were back on the right track after beating the Lakers but they lost that against the Blazers the next night.
5 days ago
Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne (15) passes as Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic (27) pur...
Arizona Sports

Suns G Cameron Payne out Saturday against Trail Blazers

Phoenix Suns backup point guard Cameron Payne will miss Saturday night's game against the Portland Trailer Blazers.
5 days ago
Game 2 ratings for NBA Finals increases from Bucks-Suns opener