NBA Finals Game 6 Most Watched Ever With 23.3M; ABC Hits Highs With Series

2nd UPDATE, 2:06 PM: The 2015 NBA Finals have turned into a slam dunk for ABC. With the final numbers for last night’s clincher Game 6 win by the Golden State Warriors now in, the 9 PM – Midnight ET court battle has pulled in an 8.9/26 among adults 18-49 with a massive 23.3 million total viewers. That’s down 8% among the demo from the last time a Game 6 decided who the NBA champ would be back on June 2, 2011 when the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat. However, last night’s game is the most watched Game 6 ever on ABC.

Compared to the last time the NBA Finals went to a Game 6, last night’s Warriors win over the Cleveland Cavaliers was up 5% in among adults 18-49 over the Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs June 18, 2013 battle. That game had an audience of 20.64 million or 13% less than last night’s game did.

Not unsurprisingly, last night’s results put this year’s record-breaking series on the scoreboard as the most successful NBA Finals ever both in the demo and in total viewership for ABC, who started showing the tournament back in 2003. With an average viewership of 20 million, the 2015 series is actually the most watched NBA Finals since 1998 when NBC showed  the great Michael Jordan on the court with the Chicago Bulls beating the Utah Jazz. See ya next year.

In other adjusted numbers, Jimmy Kimmel Live Game Night had a good night too with its best viewership results ever with 4.7 million tuning in and matching its best ever 18-49 rating with a 1.4/5. The late night host started doing the Finals pre-show back in 2008. Over on NBC, America’s Got Talent went up to a 2.3/8 to now match its June 9 result when the competition show faced Game 3 of the Finals.

UPDATE, 9:07 AM: Well, the Golden State Warriors aren’t the only ones celebrating last night’s NBA Finals (7.2/23) Game 6. With Tuesday’s primetime win by the Bay Area team over the Cleveland Cavaliers snagging an 11% rise among adults 18-49 in fast nationals over the last time the series went to a sixth game back on June 18, 2013, they must be high-fiving over at ABC too. One thing, because the highest rated part of Game 6 in metered market results was after 11 PM, which means even bigger numbers are to come. Secondly, this looks pretty set to be the highest rated and most watched NBA Finals ever for the network.

That’s the ticket the network is hoping to cash in for what has been their best  NBA Finals so far – especially as compared to the last time a NBA Finals Game 6 was the clincher, last night’s numbers are down 16% from the fast nationals from when the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat on June 12, 2011. However, MM ratings from last night topped those 2011 results by 6% so expect a whole bench full of adjustments later. As it is right now, last night’s 9 – 11 PM NBA Finals Game 6 was watched by 18.92 million, that’s the best viewership the series has had in early numbers – all of which went up. Broadcast before the game last night, Jimmy Kimmel Live Game Night (3.6/14) and NBA Countdown (4.8/17) were up 29% and 26% from their shows on that 2011 Game 6 night. With that, ABC easily won the night with a 6.2/20 rating and 16.5 million watching.

ABC weren’t the only one of the Big 4 showing sports last night with the FIFA Women’s World Cup on Fox. Taking up the net’s whole primetime, the USA’s 1-0 victory over Nigeria scored a solid 1.7/6 rating in the demo with 4.64 million watching overall. That’s up 13% from the demo result that June 12’s primetime USA vs. Sweden game got on Fox. That match went up to a 1.6/7 rating among the 18-49s with total viewership of 4.22 million. BTW – if you are planning your future World Cup schedule, the Group D win for Team USA yesterday now moves them into the elimination rounds starting early next week.

NBC also had some skin in the game last night – the ratings game that is. Up against the big game in its second hour, the 8 – 10 PM America’s Got Talent (2.2/8) took a slight 4% whack in the demo overall from last week. Freshman I Can Do That (1.3/4) did not emerge so unscathed. The celebrity talent contest fell 19% among the 18-49s from its June 9 show, which was on against Game 3 of the NBA Finals and actually saw a small rise.

CBS and The CW were all repeats last night.

PREVIOUS, 7:08 AM: It’s been 40 long long years for the Golden State Warriors but they are now the winners of the NBA Finals for the first time since Gerald Ford was President. With the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James scratching and pushing right up until the very end last night, the Bay Area team won the series 4-2 with a 105-97 Game 6 victory. In what has been a record-breaking series ratingswise, ABC probably wished it could have gone to a Game 7 but they got some pretty good results themselves on Tuesday night with Game 6 scoring a 15.9 in metered market ratings – the best a Game 6 has ever done on the network since it started showing the series in 2003, according to Nielsen. In fact, it is the best any Game 6 has done since the June 19, 2000 face-off between the L.A. Lakers and the Indiana Pacers, which got a 17.9 rating. The previous MM Game 6 high on ABC was the 15.0 that the Dallas Mavericks clincher over the Miami Heat snared back on June 12, 2011.

In a series that has had strong momentum from the get-go last night’s MM ratings also seal the deal in making the 2015 NBA Finals the highest-rated ever for ABC with a 13.9 overnight average – that’s up 31% from the 2014 NBA Finals, which went five games.

Last night’s metered market rating is up 8% from the last time an NBA Finals went to a Game 6 on June 18, 2013 when Lebron and the Miami Heat inched ahead of the San Antonio Spurs 103-100 in overtime. Last night’s game peaked right at the end as the Cavs seemed to put on what was an unsuccessful surge with a 18.8 MM rating between 11:45 PM and midnight ET. In a rematch of a sort, the 2014 NBA Finals ended in Game 5 with the Spurs topping the Heat 104-87 and winning the trophy 4 games to Miami’s 1.

We’ll update the ratings for the NBA Finals as well as get to the other shows that were on last night like the USA’s FIFA Women’s World Cup game 1-0 win over Nigeria later, but for now we’ve got some other b-ball numbers to look at. First of all, last night’s game pulled a 40.7 MM result in the San Fran market – the best MM result ever in the area. In Cleveland, the MM result was 42.0, which is the 5th best result ever for ABC or ESPN for an NBA game. Here’s some historical math for you and we don’t mean President Ford’s poll numbers. Fast nationals for the 2013 Game 6 had the Heat vs. Spurs match-up drawing a 6.5/18 rating among adults 18-49 with 16.15 million viewers. Those results went up to an 8.5/25 rating in the key demo with 20.64 million tuning in.

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