MIAMI — Is South Florida turning into a basketball town?
That’s been a question asked by many since LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami to form the Big Three in the summer of 2010.
It’s unfair to answer this based on one game, but the television ratings for Sunday’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals are worth noting. According to Nielsen, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market ranked fourth with a 17.7 rating behind just Cleveland (32.4), San Francisco-Oakland (31.1) and Columbus (19.5) — three markets with an obvious rooting interest in this year’s Finals between Golden State and Cleveland.
South Florida was also watching Game 1, as the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market ranked fifth with a 15.8 rating behind Cleveland (33.4), San Francisco-Oakland (30.9), Columbus (17.3) and Memphis (16.3).
The West Palm Beach market ranked 16th for Game 1 with a 12.7 rating and 17th for Game 2 with another 12.7 rating.
This isn’t the first year that an NBA Finals game not involving the Heat has drawn an impressive TV rating locally. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale market ranked fourth for Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals between Cleveland and Golden State.
By comparison, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market did not rank in the top 10 for Super Bowl 51 in February.
What’s the reason for this? It could be South Florida’s love-hate relationship with James or it could just be that South Florida is slowly turning into a basketball town.