2ND UPDATE, 2:30 PM: Game 4 of the NBA Finals on ABC has officially set another record for the network, with 19.8 million total viewers and a 7.6/26 rating in adults 18-49 for last night’s matchup. It reps the latest series of best-of marks for ABC which first began carrying the NBA’s championship series in 2003. Last night’s Game 4, won by Golden State 103-82 to even the best-of-7 series 2-2, was up 32% in total viewers and 27% in the demo compared with last year. Overall, the Warriors-Cleveland Cavaliers finals is up 27% and 22% in viewers and rating compared with 2014 (thanks, LeBron James vs Stephen Curry) and marks the biggest four-game average audience for pro hoops in 14 years.
UPDATE, 9:25 AM: There were a lot of ups and downs in primetime last night and we’re not just talking about the action of the court in Ohio in Game 4 of the NBA Finals (6.3/21). Having said that, it was a score from downtown for the league and ABC last night with a 5% bop up among adults 18-49 from the final ratings for last year’s Game 4 result and the best result so far for the 2015 series.
Fast nationals to fast nationals, the Golden State Warriors’ 103-82 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers to tie up the series jumped 21% from the June 12 Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs Game 4 of last year. With early numbers having 16.33 million watching the game last night, the 2015 Game 4 viewership is up 9% over the 2014 Game 4 final viewership of 14.96 million. Compared to the Game 1 jump of the 2015 NBA Finals on June 4, last night’s fast national ratings are up 13% over the early numbers for what was also Warriors victory.
Last night’s lead-ins Jimmy Kimmel Game Night (2.9/12) and NBA Countdown (3.6/13) also had more good times on Thursday with 53% and 50% fast nationals leaps in the demo from the comparable night in 2014. There will be adjustments in the final numbers for the basketball game last night, as there always are with live sports, but there is no doubt that ABC won the night among the demo and viewers. Fast nationals have the network getting a 5.3/18 rating and 14.03 million viewers. Interestingly Univision came in fourth place overall on Thursday. The Spanish language net topped NBC, who had a full slate of originals on last night, among adults 18-49 with a 0.9/3 to the Peacock’s 0.8/3.
Speaking of NBC, Dateline (1.2/5) and Aquarius (0.8/2) were up 9% and 14% from last week against Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals. However, facing the real guts of the basketball game last night, 10 PM’s Hannibal (0.5/2) slide 29% from its series low Season 3 debut last week.
On a relatively packed night, there was a finale up against the NBA Finals on Thursday as Bones (1.1/4) wrapped up its tenth season. With big moves afoot, the forensically focused series was even with last week’s show but down 31% from the Season 9 ender on May 19 last year, an in-season Monday with no NBA Finals pre-game programming as competition. The fifth episode of lead-out Wayward Pines (1.2/4) had a better night with a 9% rise over its June 4 show.
CBS was all encores last night but The CW was all originals with the Season 3 premiere of Beauty & The Beast (0.3/1) and the iHeartRadio Ultimate Pool Party. The former was even with its Season 2 debut of October 17, 2013 and the summer premiere of June 2, 2014. The latter was even with its 2014 version.
PREVIOUS, 7:37 AM: After two straight losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala and the Golden State Warriors showed up for Game 4 ready for battle. And with a smashing 108-82 victory over the Lebron James gang, it was a battle royale that now has this year’s record-breaking series even going into Sunday’s Game 5 back in Oakland. Thursday night’s Game 4 also scored a 13.9 result in metered market ratings, which is up 31% over last year’s Game 4.
Although it is the best a Game 4 has done on ABC in more than a decade, it was the first game this series to fall short of an all-time record; 2004’s Game 4 between the L.A. Lakers and Detroit Pistons scored a 14.5. That 2004 series was also a 2-2 tie at the same point, with the Pistons going on to win Game 5 and take home the trophy.
Over a four-game average, last night’s numbers put this year’s NBA Finals up 26% from last year, the highest-rated NBA Finals through four games for what must be a celebrating ABC.
Interest in the NBA Finals is actually growing as the drama intensifies: The opening game drew a 12.9 MM rating that translated into a 6.9/15 final nationals rating with 17.8 million total viewers – the best any Game 1 has ever done on ABC. Last night’s game beat that metered market result by 8%. Another record-breaker for ABC, Tuesday’s Game 3, snared a 13.7 MM result that became a 7.3/25 adults 18-49 ratings in the final nationals with a total audience of 18.8 million. Last night’s game eked a 1.5% jump on that matchup.
Last year’s Game 4 on June 12 between San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat garnered a 5.2/17 rating among the 18-49 demo in fast nationals with 12.80 million tuning in. The Spurs went on to win the series in five games, and the games were down double digits on average in the ratings compared with 2013. It will be hard to believe last night’s fast nationals won’t be dunking those results.
We’ll update with more NBA Finals ratings plus other results later.