Celtics TV ratings in free fall this season

Alex Reimer
February 19, 2019 - 11:05 am

The Celtics failed to live up to expectations through the first half of the season, and their ratings reflect the apparent disappointment among Boston sports fans.

C’s ratings on NBC Sports Boston are down 27-percent so far this season, according to Sports Business Daily. That fits into the larger trend of declining NBA ratings, which have taken an 18-percent nosedive on TNT this season. NBA TV and ABC are down, too, while ESPN remains flat. 

The only other markets with a bigger dip besides Boston, New York and Chicago, host two atrocious teams. 

Though the Celtics have struggled at times, they’re still 16 games above .500 and fourth in the Eastern Conference. With Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward healthy, they can still make an NBA Finals run. 

But the audience doesn’t seem enthralled. Last season, Celtics ratings on local TV surged 44-percent. It’s apparent Boston fell in love with the underdog squad that lost Irving and Hayward, but still found a way to reach Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals behind Brad Stevens and 19-year-old rookie Jayson Tatum.

Still, stars typically draw in professional sports. Conventional wisdom says Irving and Hayward should’ve been a boon to the Celtics’ TV numbers. 

This could be an example where Boston is just spoiled. With the Red Sox and Patriots coming off championships, the Celtics’ quest to lose to the Warriors in the Finals may seem uninspiring. 

Also, perhaps Irving’s public flirtations with LeBron James and mercurial attitude are turning some people away.

The NBA is the most-tweeted-about league in sports, due to its young demographic of fans and social media-friendly practices, causing it to appear more popular than it actually is. The Red Sox just about doubled the Celtics in ratings last season. For all of the bellyaching about baseball, it remains the clear No.2  sport around these parts.

And for this year, the gap appears to be widening. 

Related: Kyrie and LeBron's public flirtation is really starting to get annoying