NBA Finals Game 3 Watched By Record-Breaking 18.8M

UPDATE, 2:10 PM: It was the second win for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals last night but the final numbers show that it’s ABC that’s killin’ it. With a 7.3/25 rating among adults 18-49 and 18.8 million viewers, Game 3 of the basketball championship delivered the best numbers the network has ever had for the third match-up of the finals since ABC started showing the games back in 2003. With that in mind, the third court battle of the Cavs vs. Golden State Warriors tournament was up 24% in the key demo and 27% among total viewers from last year’s Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs Game 3. Overall, the average of the first three games of this year’s Finals are tracking as the best performance ever for ABC and the best 3-game average viewership since 2001’s L.A. Lakers vs. Philadelphia 76ers battle.

PREVIOUS, 9:08 AM: Unlike the first two games of the NBA Finals (5.8/18) this year, there was no overtime last night as the Cleveland Cavaliers topped the Golden State Warriors 96-91 despite a 4th quarter surge from the West Coast team. However, similar to the first two games of this year’s series, what there was in Quicken Loans Arena in Ohio on Tuesday night was another record- breaker for ABC. Not only have the first three games of the basketball finals proved the best ABC has ever done ratingswise since they started showing the NBA title fight in 2003, but in metered market results, Game 3 delivered a 13.7 rating – the best any NBA Finals Game 3 has ever done for the network. Last night’s Cavs’ win, which gives them two games to the Warrior’s one victory, was up 10% from the previous Game 3 record holder of the 2004 battle between the L.A. Lakers and the Detroit Pistons. Compared to last year’s Game 3 court match-up between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, last night’s game shot up 33% in MM results.

There also might be a slam-dunk for ABC and the NBA when the final ratings come in later today. Fast nationals for last night’s game are up 18% from the early numbers for June 10, 2014 Game 3 of last year. Those 2014 numbers were adjusted, as live sports almost always are, to a 5.9/10 among adults 18-49, which means it’s just 2% better than last night’s early numbers. In preliminary numbers, last night’s 9-11 PM ET Cavs vs. Warriors game was watched by 14.61 million. That’s down a touch from the audience of 14.77 million for last year’s Game 3, but it is up 22% from early viewership results for that 2014 game. Both Jimmy Kimmel Live Game Night (2.7/10) and NBA Countdown (3.4/12) were up 42% in fast nationals from last year. Unsurprisingly, ABC is leading the night overall with a 4.9/16 rating and 12.62 million viewers. NBC is second with a 2.0/7 and Univision ties Fox with a 0.9/3 for third place.

The Cavs weren’t the only winners last night as Hell’s Kitchen (1.03) wrapped up it 14th season. The 9 PM Fox series named a new head chef for the Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill in Vegas, but took a hit from facing the NBA Finals. Last night’s show was down 23% in the key demo from the 1.3/4 that the HK Season 13 finale cooked up on an NBA Final-less Wednesday of December 17 last year. A more seasonal comparison is to the Thursday night Season 12 ender of July 24, 2014. Again, not facing the NBA Finals on a relatively uncompetitive night, that 8 PM HK finale was up 70% from last night’s Season 14 ender. Not facing the NBA game, lead-in Are You Smarter That A 5th Grader? (0.8/3) had a better night with a 14% rise from its June 2 show.

The CW’s only original of last night was the Season 1 finale of iZombie (0.5/2), which was down 17% from its June 2 show – when there was no NBA Finals. CBS was all encores.

Partially having to take on the NBA Finals, Tuesday’s 8 – 10 PM America’s Got Talent (2.3/8) held on pretty strong with just a 4% dip among adults 18-49. Lead-out I Can Do That! (1.6/5) did even better with a 7% bop up from last week.

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