2019 NBA Finals by the Numbers

Last night’s game 6 marked the end of an exciting and historic 2019 NBA Finals. For the first time in NBA history a non-US team won the tournament, making the Toronto Raptors the first ever Canadian team to win the NBA title and Jeremy Lin the first Asian-American player to receive an NBA championship ring.

 

Because the NBA championship series is such a significant cultural event, we decided to ask Americans their thoughts and predictions around the games. The survey we administered to measure sentiment was conducted online within the United States from June 12-13, 2019 among 1,072 US adults. 

 

The results are fascinating. Read along to see what we found out.

 

  • Most respondents did not plan to watch games 6 and 7 of the 2019 NBA Finals, with 59% of respondents saying that they would not watch them. Additionally, only 26% said they would watch both, and 15% said they would maybe watch one of them.
  • Shocker! U.S. adults wanted the Warriors to win, with 62% saying so and 38% saying they wanted the Raptors to be the victors.
  • However, there was a slight dip in support when asked who they thought would win. With 58% saying they thought the Warriors would win.
  • Millennials were the most devoted NBA finals viewers this year, with 38% saying they would watch both games, followed by 32% of Gen-Zers, 30% of Baby Boomers, and only 4% of the silent generation who said the same.
  • African Americans were the top spectators, with 56% saying they would watch both games, while only 19% of those who identify as white said the same.
  • Despite variance in basketball popularity throughout the country, and the west coast representation in the finals, there was very little variance in regional viewership of the NBA finals. (Northeast=26%, Midwest=23%, South=25%, West=29%).
  • Urban dwellers were the most excited about the games, with 37% saying they would watch both games (Suburban=24%, Rural=18%).
  • Education does not seem to play a role in how Americans feel about the NBA finals. The least educated (less than a high school diploma) and most educated populations (those with at least an undergraduate degree) were the most engaged viewers.
  • Dems were the most excited about basketball, with 33% saying they would watch both games while only 24% of republicans said the same.
  • Seems like the more liberal Americans were more likely to watch both games. (Strong liberal=32%, Lean liberal=29%, Moderate=27%, Lean conservative=16%, Strong conservative=26%).
  • The more engaged fans (people who said they would watch both games) saw Toronto as the likely winner, whereas casual fans were more likely to say they thought the Warriors would win. In other words, people who were paying attention are making more logically aligned predictions as to the outcome of the tournament.