One of Texas’ richest residents and one of its senators are trading punches on Twitter. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Sen. Ted Cruz are squaring off over the cause of the NBA Finals‘ poor ratings.
It started Tuesday morning when Cruz tweeted out a link that pointed out the poor ratings performance of this year’s NBA playoffs. “ANOTHER NEW LOW: NBA Finals Game 3 ‘Least Watched in Recorded Ratings History,'” the headline of the article screams.
“Not surprising. Personally speaking, this is the first time in years that I haven’t watched a single game in the NBA Finals. #GoWokeGoBroke,” Cruz wrote.
According to Deadline, about 4 million people watched Sunday night’s Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakes and Miami Heat. “Sunday Night Football” drew about three times the audience. Though, the NFL is suffering a severe drop in ratings as well.
It gets worse. According to Yahoo Sports, ratings are down 45 percent compared to last season’s Game 1 between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors which drew in 13.5 million viewers. It’s the fourth straight year viewership has dropped.
Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban didn’t take the shot lightly. He called out Cruz for attacking business in their state.
“A US Senator with 3 @NBA teams in his state, employing thousands of people and he is rooting for their businesses to do poorly. This is who you are @tedcruz . Every minute of your life, this is exactly who you are,” he tweeted.
What’s causing the ratings drop?
Viewership among all professional sports is way down this year. Overall, NBA ratings were down 27 percent from last year, and 40 percent over the past two seasons, Sports Illustrated reported. MLB has struggled to draw an audience for its postseason. And the NHL had the least-watched Stanley Cup in over a decade. The NFL is down 20 to 40 percent in total viewers this year.
The reason for the drops is likely a combination of factors including the global pandemic, and, as Cruz suggested, the political position taken by players.
Several people responding to Cruz backed him up.
Cuban had support as well though. Some people felt Cruz was just trying to exploit the situation for political capital.
Game 4 of the NBA Finals is Tuesday at 9 p.m. The Lakers lead the series 2-1.