UPDATED, 1:07 PM: There’s two days until Game 3 of the 2018 NBA Finals starts in Ohio but things are certainly starting to take shape in the series with the 2-0 lead for the Golden State Warriors over the Cleveland Cavaliers and the viewership numbers for last night’s Game 2.
The Warriors’ 122-103 win at home hit 18.5 million viewers on ABC in primetime with a peak of 22.5 million near the end in the 10:15 – 10:30 PM ET slot. Rising 7% from the sets of eyeballs who watched the GSW Game 1 on May 31, that’s just a little better than the uptick from Game 1 to Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals.
Side-by-side, Game 2 of the 2018 finals is pretty steady with 2017’s Warriors winning Game 2 with a 6% dip. All of which, as was the case with the metered market results earlier this morning (see below), means the NBA Finals is achieving that rare distinction of basically being on par with last year in an era of otherwise overall ratings declines.
So Game on!
PREVIOUSLY, 7:04 AM: It’s déjà vu all over again as the Golden State Warriors solidly won Game 2 of the NBA Finals last night against the Cleveland Cavaliers – just like they did last year.
There wasn’t a need for overtime like in Game 1, but Steph Curry and the rest of the defending NBA champs provided lots of court drama Sunday as they crushed LeBron James and the 2016 NBA champs the Cavs 122-103 in primetime. Not that the Cavs didn’t put up a fight, especially in the third quarter, but the verdict was in on this one when the hometown team surged in the second quarter.
As chants of “MVP, MVP!” filled Oracle Arena, there was also the matter of Curry making a little history:
— NBA (@NBA) June 4, 2018
All of which added up to a strong ratings results for the NBA and ABC, which marked the third highest-rated Game 2 since 2001 and another memory of 2017.
Scoring a 12.7 in metered market results, Sunday’s Game 2 was even with the comparable match-up of June 4 last year when the Warriors beat the Cavs 132-113 in Oakland. While not a rise as we saw last year over 2016, with the Warriors and Cavs meeting for a fourth consecutive NBA Finals being even with 2017 certainly proves there is no fatigue for the two teams among fans. And in a TV landscape where ratings declines are the new normal even for the likes of the NFL, no going backwards is a win by any measure.
As expected, Game 2 was up from the Warriors-winning Game 1 of May 31 in the early metrics — in this case to the tune of just over 3%. That OT dust-up went on to pull in almost 17.4 million viewers. Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals drew an audience of 19.7 million, up 1 million sets of eyeballs from its Game 1 viewership.
Although there was some premiere action on cable with Pose on FX and Succession on HBO last night, the rest of the Big 4 pretty much stayed out of ABC and the NBA Finals’ way. After a new 60 Minutes, CBS brought procedural Instinct back for a second season and NBC had a Dateline at 7 PM. We’ll update with those results and more from the Warriors and Cavs battle when we have them.
If you are planning your schedule for the week, Game 3 of the NBA Finals is Wednesday as the action moves to Ohio. Game 4 in Cleveland is Friday.