If you've ever wondered what LeBron James means to the NBA, look no further than the playoff ratings, which have gone into the gutter without LeBron.
James missed the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, and the ratings have tanked without him. Not only are some games losing 50 percent of their viewership compared to similar rounds in 2018, but they lost in their head-to-head matchup with the Masters.
NBA playoff ratings down a whopping 31 percent on opening weekend ... active Twitter users down to a meager 6 percent of Americans ... and https://t.co/TjADbl61PV experiencing its best three-month stretch yet. Thank you for continuing to follow along.— Sam Amico (@AmicoHoops) April 18, 2019
Saturday's Spurs-Nuggets game, which did not compete directly with any other sports, only pulled in a 1.1, which is the lowest rating for an NBA playoff game since Nets-Raptors in 2007 and Magic-Hornets in 2002.
Ratings For 7 Of 8 Weekend NBA Playoff Games Down Double-Digits From 2018 https://t.co/BmoE4AtpcR— RealGM (@RealGM) April 17, 2019
Beyond LeBron, there are a couple other reasons that ratings could be down. People could be tired of the Warriors' dominance, several other ratings-driving stars (Luka Doncic, Anthony Davis) are sitting at home, and national brands like the Knicks, Bulls, and Lakers all missed the playoffs.
The league will need to figure out a post-LeBron plan, because the early preview of that world does not look promising for them.