2nd UPDATE, 2:39 PM: The Golden State Warriors are the 2017 NBA Champions and ABC is riding high on the Bay Area team’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers last night too.
The near final numbers are in and last night’s trophy clinching Game 5 129-120 victory for the 2015 Champs over the 2016 Champs snared 24.5 million viewers and an 18-49 rating of 9.0/33. The biggest game of this year’s match-up, last night’s court action was up 20% in total viewers and 18% in the key demo over last year’s Game 5 – which could have seen the Warriors take the Larry O’Brien trophy for the second year in a row if LeBron James and the Cavs hadn’t decided they were grabbing it.
Replicating the metered market results of this morning, the 8:59 – 11:51 PM ET 2017 Game 5 stands as the most watched Game 5 of any NBA Finals since 1998 – when the Chicago Bulls were beaten by the Utah Jazz.
For you statheads, of the five 5-Game NBA Finals that ABC has had since it started carrying the series in 2003, this year’s was the most watched with an average viewership of 20.4 million sets of eyeballs.
As for ABC, with an overall 6.2/24 rating, last night was the best Monday that the net has had since May 15, 2006.
UPDATED, 8:50 AM: In the end, no matter what LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers did, they could not stand in the way of the Golden State Warriors reclaiming the championship trophy in the NBA Finals in last night’s Game 5 in Oakland.
With a 129-120 victory, MVP Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and the rest of Steve Kerr and Mike Brown’s crew took back what the Ohio team had taken away from them last year.
It was also a win for ABC and the NBA, with ratings not seen for a Game 5 since Bill Clinton was in the White House. In the third NBA Finals battle in a row between the Warriors and the Cavs, last night’s primetime matchup snagged a 16.0 rating in metered market results. That’s the best any NBA Finals Game 5 has done since 1998, when the Utah Jazz beat the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls 83-81 (for context, Phil Jackson’s Bulls team went on to win the series). In fact, in the early numbers, last night’s Warriors win is the highest-rated non-Game 7 NBA game ever for ABC and sister station ESPN.
Last’s night game peaked in the near final minutes of 11:30-11:45 PM ET with an 18.8 rating.
Overall, Monday’s game was up 13% in MM results from the fifth game of the 2016 NBA Finals, which the Cavs won on June 13 last year. Last night’s game was also up 13% in MM numbers from Game 5 of the 2015 NBA Finals, a series that went on to see the Warriors bring home their first championship since 1975.
In what could have been another Cavs title but was not to be, Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals went on to pull in a 7.6 rating among adults 18-49 and 20.5 million viewers. It also had an average minute streaming audience of 537,000. That’s the second most streamed NBA game ever according to ESPN, with only Game 7 of the 2016 finals topping it. Keeping James’ promise to bring a championship to Cleveland, the Cavs went on to win the 2016 series with a hard fought Game 7 on June 19. Though they are not apples to apples in comparison, that championship winner snared an 18.9 MM result, or up 18% from last night’s clincher.
Facing the Warriors, NBC’s American Ninja Warrior launched its new season Monday with a 1.4 adults 18-49 rating, down 18% from last season’s opener and the highest-rated non-sports program on broadcast TV on Tuesday. Fox’s more female-skewing veteran So You Think You Can Dance (0.9), which is “returning to basics” this season, was off a tenth from the opener of last year’s kid edition.
Both established reality series were used to launch new unscripted shows, but either impressed facing the NBA Finals’ deciding game. NBC’s Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge logged a 0.9 rating for its debut behind American Ninja Warrior, while Superhuman opened with a 0.7. CBS and the CW aired reruns.
ABC is projected to win the night in a landslide.