2021 NBA Playoffs Viewership Sees Massive Increase After LeBron James and Lakers Championship Win in Orlando Bubble

Published 05/31/2021, 9:30 AM CDT
May 30, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) shoots as Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder (99) moves in to defend during the first half in game four of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


The NBA Playoffs have begun for 2021, and fans have been given a treat. So far, the playoffs have been entertaining, as fans have gotten to see exciting basketball. Furthermore, several arenas in the NBA have allowed fans to return in great capacity, adding to the atmosphere.

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The return of fans has made watching basketball a far more enjoyable experience, especially given what we have experienced in the last few years. And others clearly agree.

NBA Playoffs have a massive increase in ratings

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So far, the 2021 NBA Playoffs are garnering much greater success in the rating. The ratings have improved 61% from last year’s NBA playoffs, which took place from the Bubble in Orlando behind closed doors. Clearly, fans didn’t feel the environment to be appealing enough last year, to tune in to watch.

The Los Angeles Lakers ended up winning the NBA championship, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

May 22, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) shoots a jump shot defended by Boston Celtics guard Evan Fournier (94) during the third quarter of game one in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

READ MORE: LeBron James vs Michael Jordan – Best Playoff Game Winners

There could be a few reasons for this dramatic increase. Firstly, the return of several marquee stars to the playoff picture would boost the ratings. This season, we have seen fan-favorite players like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, and others in the playoffs.

Last year, these players, along with other big names like Klay Thompson and Zion Williamson missed the playoffs due to injury or lack of team success.

Orlando Bubble didn’t keep fans interested

As mentioned earlier, the return of fans has been a big boost for ratings. Last year, all games took place behind closed doors, a condition for the Orlando bubble. Therefore, the environment usually presents during the playoffs was absent, and the playoffs felt less important. But now, with a chunk of the residents of the United States having been vaccinated, fans are returning to arenas in droves, making the playoffs all that more exciting.

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May 23, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) reacts alongside Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) in the first half during game one in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports | Courtesy: Reuters
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Will the NBA playoffs continue to bring in rating success? So far, the quality of games has been absolutely spectacular. And most series in the first round have been very competitive. However, we will find out the true extent of fan interest as the playoffs go on and teams get eliminated.

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So far, only one team has been eliminated from the playoffs. Whereas most of the other series still have at least one more game to play. As the superstars go further in the playoffs, fan interest will increase, or taper off.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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