Less than 12 hours after winning the NBA Finals Sunday night, the Los Angeles Lakers became the best-selling NBA champion team ever. Fanatics reported more Lakers gear was bought overnight than the previous record-holder — the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers — sold in 30 days following their win.
The rush of sales is in contrast to sagging ratings throughout the NBA playoffs, suggesting a decline in viewership doesn’t mark a decrease in interest in the league. ABC’s broadcast of the series-clinching Game 6 was down 57% from last year’s NBA Finals Game 6 between the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors — which wasn’t up against the NFL’s “Sunday Night Football.”
NBA officials are likely happy they’ve emerged from the bubble, estimated to cost $180 million, with no positive COVID-19 tests through the 172 games played in Orlando. Now as a thank you, Commissioner Adam Silver is giving league employees $1,000 and four Fridays off beginning Oct. 30, as well as Thanksgiving week.