The San Antonio Spurs' victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 on Sunday drew a 3.9 overnight rating on ABC Sunday afternoon.
That is down 41 percent from the Miami Heat/Boston Celtics Game 1 on ESPN last season and down 26 percent from the Oklahoma City Thunder/Dallas Mavericks Game 1 on ESPN in 2011.
The game ranks as the lowest rated conference final opener since 2007 when the Cleveland Cavaliers/Detroit Pistons drew a 3.5 on TNT.
San Antonio is the 36th larget market, while Memphis ranks 49th.
The NBA hopes to soon negotiate new television contracts with their national partners. While the league is generally seen to be on the rise, the new collective bargaining agreement favors parity and incoming commissioner, Adam Silver, has made it an expected touchstone of his regime to continue that trend.