2nd UPDATE, 1:50 PM: Last year, Game 5 of the NBA Finals was the clincher that saw the San Antonio Spurs win the series 4-1 over the Miami Heat. As big do-or-die games like that do, the deciding game of the 2014 series drew the biggest viewership of the series for ABC with nearly 17.9 million total viewers and a 6.8 rating among adults 18-49. Well, the already record-breaking 2015 NBA Finals aren’t even over yet, and last night’s Game 5 blew last year off the court — and that’s against the Season 5 finale of HBO’s blockbuster Game Of Thrones, too.
With 20.5 million total viewers and a 7.5 rating among the key demo, the Golden State Warriors’ win over the Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t just make it a 3-2 series. Nope, it is also up 15% in viewership over 2014’s last and biggest game and up 10% in the 18-49. Five games in, that makes the 2015 NBA Finals on track to be the most watched ever on ABC. That also makes last night’s matchup the second-best Game 5 result ABC has had since it started showing the series in 2003. Only the 11.4 rating and 21.84 million viewers of the 2004 Game 5 between the winning Detroit Pistons and the L.A. Lakers did better — and that was a clincher too.
And there’s more to come: Just a tick behind the 7.6 rating that Game 4 scored, this year’s Game 5 could still be the highest-rated matchup of the series with final nationals still to come in tomorrow from Sunday’s game. With that, and the huge spotlight now on the basketball playoffs, the question is now how high can it all go on Tuesday with what could be this year’s clincher in Game 6 in Cleveland.
'Game Of Thrones' Finale: Director On Season 5's Shocking End & Season Six Impact
UPDATE, 9;12 AM: It was a bit tighter result than last year’s Game 5, but then again the fifth matchp of the 2015 NBA Finals (6.2/20) and the Golden State Warriors’ 104-91 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers is not the end of the series, as it was in 2014. Facing the Game Of Thrones Season 5 finale on HBO at 9 PM, last night’s battle in Oakland was basically even with June 11’s Game 3 fast national result of 6.3 among adults 18-49 and bopping up 3% from the early numbers of the 2014 Game 5, which saw the San Antonio Spurs beat the Miami Heat 107-87 and win the series. That 2014 Finals final game went up to a 6.8 in final numbers with a total viewership of 17.88 million watching. Early numbers between 8 – 11 PM have 16.86 million tuning in for last night’s Game 5, the best the 2015 Finals have done viewershipwise in preliminary numbers so far.
Those demo and viewership numbers will change in later results but right now ABC is, and will undoubtedly continued to win the night, with a 5.4/18 rating and 14.92 million viewers. As they have every game night these Finals, ABC played Jimmy Kimmel Live Game Night (2.7/11) and NBA Countdown (3.4/13), which were up 29% and 36% from 2014 fast nationals.
Fox had one original on last night with Golan The Insatiable (0.6/2). The animated freshman saw a rise of 20% among the demo from last week. On an all encores CBS, a 60 Minutes (0.8/3) repeat turned out to be the most watched non-NBA show of the night with an audience of 7.46 million.
As with last Sunday, it was a full house on NBC last night with a double shot of Dateline starting things off. The 7 PM (0.8/3) show was up 14% from last week while the 8 PM (0.9/3) Dateline NBC: My Kid Would Never Do That was down 10% from its June 7 show. The penultimate episode of A.D. The Bible Continues (0.7/2) was even with last week’s low. The news was better at 10 PM for American Odyssey (0.5/1), which rose 25% from last week. Close to the end of their current runs, neither of the NBC dramas have received a formal second season order yet from the network.
PREVIOUS, 7:23 AM: What a difference a year can make. Yes both last year and last night saw a Game Of Thrones season finale, but at this point in the 2014 NBA Finals it was all over with the San Antonio Spurs have beaten the Miami Heat 107-87 in Game 5 to win the series 4-1. Last night, the Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors pushed ahead 3-2 in the 2015 finals with a 104-91 victory over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Oakland. There’s more court action to come tomorrow back in Ohio, but the real winner is again ABC.
In a record-breaking series that has delivered the network its best overall average numbers ever through Game 5, Sunday’s close battle drew a 14.2 rating in metered market results. Topping the 13.9 that Game 4 pulled in on June 11, last night is the best metered market result the NBA Finals has had this very good year. Although Game 5 between the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers on June 15, 2004 holds the overall fifth-game ratings record, last night was up a very strong 21% from its 2014 equivalent. The Warriors’ win was also the best Game 5 on ABC since that 2004 battle that the Pistons won on their way to winning the series.
We’ll update with more ratings later, but to put some context on things, last year’s Game 5 got a 6.0 in fast nationals among adults 18-49. That went up to a 6.8 with 17.88 million total viewers. Here’s some more b-ball math: Last night’s primetime game peaked in MM ratings with an 18.1 between 10:30-10:45 PM ET. Here’s another bit: Going into Game 6, we’re going into territory the NBA Finals hasn’t seen since 2013, when the Heat beat the Spurs 103-100 on June 18 in Miami. That 2013 series went to a Game 7 as I bet ABC is hoping this one does as well.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.