(Updated 12:52 PM with viewership numbers) The Stanley Cup Finals hit the ice for Game 1 between newbies the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals in Sin City on NBC, but the real sports showdown last night was on TNT in Game 7 of the NBA playoffs’ Western Conference Finals.
The Houston Rockets didn’t have an injured Chris Paul on the court once again, and once again the Golden State Warriors proved the victors with a 101-92 win in the first Game 7 of a Western Conference Finals since 2016, when the Warriors beat the Oklahoma Thunder.
As the Cleveland Cavaliers triumphed over the Boston Celtics in their Game 7 on Sudy to take the Eastern Conference crown, it means the 2018 NBA Finals will look a lot like they did in 2015, 2016 and 2017, with Steph Curry’s and LeBron James’ teams facing off again.
Scoring a 10.3 in metered market results, last night’s Warrior-Rockets game was the highest-rated NBA game this year on cable or broadcast. As in, LeBron James may be king, but Steph Curry clearly rules. That reign was further cemented by the 14.8 million viewers who tuned in for the match-up last night on TNT.
The most watched NBA game all season and the second most watched pro-basketball game in cable history, last night’s GSW WCF winner peaked with 18 million sets of eyeballs on the ball right near the end during the 11 – 11:15 PM ET slot.
Eclipsing the previous high of the May 27 Cavs-Celtics game by 13% in the early metrics, Monday’s Western Conference Finals Game 7 was also the second highest-rated NBA game ever on cable after the 2016 WCF Game 7 between the Warriors and Thunder.
In the metered markets and viewership categories, last night’s TNT game easily won the night on all of TV, including that big hockey game on NBC.
There wasn’t a Game 7 in last year’s Western Conference Finals, but overall this year’s series is up 48% from 2017 when it was on ESPN and 51% over the ECF on TNT. Viewershipwise, the 2018 WCF is up 45% over last year’s conference.
As for that Stanley Cup Game 1, it drew a 3.72 metered market rating for NBC, the best a Stanley Cup opener has done in three years. In the early numbers that’s up 7% over last year’s Game 1 between the winning Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators. Power playing in a viewership of 5.3 million, the Stanley Cup opener is also up 7% in total audience for the third-best Stanley Cup Game 1 for the Comcast-owned net since 2006.
Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals kicks off Thursday on ABC in Oakland.