What’s Your Favorite Sports Final?

I’m going to throw some 2016/2017 stats at you:

  • NBA Finals (game 1): 20 million viewers
  • World Series  (game 7): 40 million viewers
  • Super Bowl: 114 million viewers
  • UEFA Champions League Final: 350 million viewers

I spent a few hours on Saturday afternoon watching the Champions League Final, the last game in a tournament that spans something like 8 months of the year…every year. It’s comprised of all the best club teams in Europe.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to me about this tournament is that throughout the group stages and knockout stages, every matchup results in a home game and an away game against the same team…until the final game, which is just one game on neutral turf.

While there are many factors that contribute to the Champions League Final having so many more viewers than the NBA Finals and the World Series, I’d like to posit that a big part of it is that it’s a single all-or-nothing game. It’s an event, a climactic finale.

A lot of people who don’t watch American football still get together anyway for the Super Bowl because it’s an event. How many people do that for the NBA Finals or the World Series? Maybe for game 7 if it even happens.

But imagine if all sports ended in a single game, no matter the tournament format that preceded it. How epic would that be? I’d get together with friends to watch the NBA Final or the World Series if each consisted of a single game.

I’m sure there’s a financial aspect to spreading out a series over 4-7 games, but if viewership for a single game were significantly higher, it might still add up.

What do you think? Would you pay attention to some of these sports if they ended in a Super Bowl or a Champions League Final showdown?