UPDATE, 4:55 PM: Making any kind of prediction right now about who will win the NBA Finals is a mug’s game with Game 4 coming tomorrow night. However, as championship series newbies the Toronto Raptors lead 2-1 over champs the Golden State Warriors, we do know for sure it will be hard for the ratings to hit the levels of the past few years at this point.
Taking a 26% dive from Game 3 of the 2018 NBA Finals, last night’s Game 3 snared 13.10 million viewers for the league and ABC. Similar to the metered market numbers of earlier today, that’s the worst that any Game 3 has done since 2007.
Twelve years ago, an audience of 9.5 million watched the San Antonio Spurs inch past the Cleveland Cavaliers 75-72 on June 12, 2007 and on to a Game 4 win and the Larry O’Brien Championship trophy.
In a series that has seen a steady round of double-digit ratings drops year-to-year in no small part to there being only one American market in the mix, Wednesday’s Game 3 dipped just 6% from the June 2 Game 2.
Game 4 is in the Bay Area, like Game 3 was.
PREVIOUSLY, 7:07 AM: If anyone thought the Toronto Raptors were going to go extinct against the Golden State Warriors once the 2019 NBA Finals moved to back to America, last night’s Game 3 tore that theory apart.
A resounding 123-109 win at Oracle Arena by Danny Green and the only Canadian team in the league put the crew from the 6ix up 2-1 in the NBC championship series against the current champs. Nailing 47 points on his own, last night was also a playoff career-high for Steph Curry as the Warriors suffered their first NBA Finals loss at home in three years.
Still, for all the drama on the court (and Jay-Z and Beyoncé courtside) in what has proven a very dramatic series with the Raptors in the finals for the first time, ratings were still down to multi-year lows for ABC and the NBA.
Snaring a 10.0/18 in metered market results, Wednesday’s primetime Game 3 crashed 21% from the Game 3 of the 2018 NBA Finals on June 6 last year. The biggest year-to-year drop of the series so far, last night’s game tied in the early metrics with the 2013 NBA Finals for the lowest Game 3 since Cleveland Cavaliers took on the San Antonio Spurs on the Texas team’s turf in 2007.
That less than stellar market matchup 12 years ago went on to have a total viewership of 9.5 million. The Miami Heat-Spurs Game 3 of 2013 last night tied eventually had 14.05 million sets of eyeballs, which may be in the range we’ll be seeing later today.
However, unique to the 2019 NBA Finals, all those past battles had two American teams and hence two U.S. markets, no matter how large or small. That is clearly not the case this year and, even with massive Canadian viewership, the Disney-owned net is suffering in the Nielsen numbers on this side of the border.
Compared to June 2’s Game 2, Game 3 of the 2019 series was basically even with its immediate predecessor with a mere 2% dip in the metered market numbers. In the final numbers, the Warriors’ winning Game 2 pulled in a crowd of 13.9 million, with 4.8/22 among the advertiser-desired adults 18-49 demographic.
We’ll update with more NBA Finals ratings, how strongly ABC dominated the night and a look at what else was on the small screen Wednesday.
Until then, two things to chew on.
First, with a 10.1/19 average so far in metered market results, the 2019 NBA Finals are the lowest first three games since the 9.7/16 for the L.A. Lakers and Orlando Magic face-off of 2009.
Two, this trio of b-ball excellence :
— NBA (@NBA) June 6, 2019