After a week-long layoff following the end of the conference final round, the NBA Finals are slated to begin tomorrow, June 6, on ABC. The matchup will feature the Boston Celtics, who made the Finals last year and set the pace in the league with 64 regular season wins, and the Dallas Mavericks, who make their first trip back to the Finals since they last won a league title in 2011. 

Where does fan interest stand ahead of the matchup?

According to the latest CivicScience data, 28% of U.S. adults express some level of interest in watching the Finals, marking a one point uptick from last year. Still, the majority (52%) say they ‘definitely will not’ watch this year1. This comes at a time when NBA playoff viewership numbers are down from last season and as the league is reportedly close to signing a new media rights deal.

ABC has exclusive broadcast coverage of the entire series, but not all fans will be tuning in the same way. The plurality will watch via the traditional cable TV broadcast. Streamers on platforms like YouTube TV represent the second largest percentage, while a noteworthy 20% plan to watch through an antenna. Millennials prefer antennas or streaming over traditional broadcasts and are the least likely to tune in via traditional cable TV.

Antenna viewers make up nearly one-quarter of this year’s intended Finals viewership, yet there is often a lack of coverage and real-time data for these viewers that is available for other viewers like streamers. CivicScience maintains a database of over 100,000 over-the-air TV viewers and helps clients reach this ever growing yet often overlooked audience of antenna viewers thanks to our Over-the-Air Audience Tracker report. (Click here to see it in action.)

Take Our Poll: Who will win the NBA Finals?

Betting Intent Spikes

New data show consumer intent to bet on the NBA Finals this year has gone up by a notable margin from 2023. Nineteen percent of U.S. adults aged 21+ say they’re at least ‘somewhat’ likely to place bets this year, up from 13% in last year’s Finals. Even as fans of the Mavericks that reside in Texas are unable to partake, given sports betting is not yet legal in their state.

A Third of NBA Viewers More Likely to Order Food Delivery During Finals

DoorDash has been a partner of the NBA since 2020, and took on an active role ahead of this year’s all-star game in Indianapolis, which begs the question: what kind of impact do the NBA Finals have on food delivery? CivicScience data show 52% of those who watch the NBA report having ordered food delivery while watching NBA games at home. Looking ahead to the NBA Finals, a little more than a third say they’re ‘more’ likely to order food during those games, compared to 28% who are ‘less’ likely to do so.

While the Super Bowl captures much of the attention in terms of food ordering, and is typically a huge day for pizza, how do NBA fans stack up? CivicScience polling shows that even for a regular sports broadcast, pizza is the overwhelming favorite among the Gen Pop. NBA fans, however, are the least likely of major sports league viewers to add a pizza to their food delivery carts on game night. They are however at least three points more likely to order burgers and the most likely to order a chicken sandwich as they prepare to settle in to watch a game. 

Weigh In: Do you like to order food for delivery when you watch sports at home?

Want more insights like these and to learn how CivicScience clients leverage the InsightStore™  database of over 500K crossable questions to create high-performing ad campaigns?  Get in touch now.

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