UPDATE, 10:59 AM: The Cleveland Cavaliers claimed their very first NBA championship last night in what was a nail-bitting 93-89 of a Game 7 against the Golden State Warriors. But the real winner was ABC, which drew its biggest audience ever for an NBA game.
With the LeBron James-led Cavs’ 100th playoff win, the 8-10:40 PM Game 7 from the Bay Area drew 30.8 million total viewers with a 11.2 rating among adults 18-49. That’s up 17% from the 26.2 million that the last NBA Finals Game 7 scored back in 2013, when the James-led Miami Heat beat the San Antonio Spurs. Last night’s game is the most watched telecast on TV this year after the Super Bowl (111.9 million) and the Academy Awards (34.4 million).
The Spurs-Heat Game 7 three years ago was the second most watched NBA Finals Game 7 ever and the second most watched NBA game ever on ABC since the net began airing the games in 2003. The most watched NBA game on ABC had been the 2010 Game 7 between the winning L.A. Lakers and the Boston Celtics – that pulled in 28.2 million viewers. Peaking at a huge 44.5 million in the final minutes, last night’s game was the most watched NBA Finals-winning game on any net since since 1998 when the great Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz in Game 6 of that year’s series to an audience of 35.9 million.
Here’s two more stats for you: the Cavs were the first of 33 teams in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 Finals deficit to win a championship and the fourth ever to take a Game 7 on the road.
Among the key demo, last night’s game was up 6% over the 2013 Game 7 and 45% over June 16’s Game 6 results.
Going into last night’s game, the NBA Finals was tracking as the second most watched series ABC had ever had – now it is the most watched ever with an average of 20.2 million viewers.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) June 20, 2016
PREVIOUSLY, 6:46 AM: The NBA Finals were pretty much the only game in town on the Big 4 last night and with Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers scoring their very first championship in a Game 7 93-89 victory over the Golden State Warriors, ABC won all round.
With a 18.9/32 in metered market results, last night’s down-to-the-wire Game 7 was up 7% from the last time an NBA Finals went to a Game 7. That was back on June 20, 2013 when Lebron and the Miami Heat beat the San Antonio Spurs to claim the Florida franchise’s second straight championship.
At the time that was the second-highest MM rating for any NBA game for ABC since the net started broadcasting the league back in 2003 – only the 2011 NBA Finals Game 7, where the L.A. Lakers battled the Boston Celtics did better with an 18.2 MM rating – which last night’s game beat by 4%. All of which makes Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals the highest-rated game of the series in early numbers and the best any NBA game has ever done on ABC. To give a sense of that high, Sunday’s game peaked at a remarkable 25.5 MM rating from 10:30 – 10:45 PM when it looked like the win could go to either team.
The 2013 Game 7 went on to hit a 10.3/32 rating among adults 18-49 and 26.3 million total viewers. That was the second-most-watched NBA game ever on ABC behind the 28.2 million who tuned in to watch the Lakers take the Celtics 83-79 to snag their 16th and most recent NBA Championship.
We’ll update with more NBA Finals Game 7 ratings later, but right now ponder this number – Game 7 of the 2016 match up is up 32% from June 16’s Game 6 in MM numbers. That Thursday b-ball contest went on to become a demo and viewership high for the 2016 series with a 7.7/27 rating and 20.70 million viewers in the final numbers.
UPDATE, 8:47 AM: There will be adjustments later in the day but right now the clinching Game 7 of this year’s NBA Finals is already scoring from downtown for ABC. Between 8 – 11 PM ET, the Bay Area played game between the now championship winning Cleveland Cavaliers and last year’s champs the Golden State Warriors drew a 9.2/30 rating among adults 18-49 and 25.06 million total viewers. That’s up 6% from the early numbers of 2013 when the last NBA Finals went to a Game 7.
That win three-years ago by Lebron James and the Miami Heat over the San Antonio Spurs on June 20, 2013 ended up with an impressive 10.3/32 rating in the demo and 26.3 million watching – the second most watched NBA game ever on ABC after the 2011 NBA Finals Game 7 when the big market L.A. Lakers beat the big market Boston Celtics to win their 16th and most recent championship.