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Just Under 31-Million Viewers for Game 7 of the ‘NBA Finals’

Highest Rated 'NBA Finals' Telecast in 18 Years!

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ victory on game seven of the NBA Finals on Sunday scored a mammoth 30.8 million viewers from 8-10:40 p.m. ET, according to the True Fast Nationals. Comparably, this stands as television’s most-watched telecast overall since the “2016 Academy Awards” (on Feb. 28, 2016) and the top-rated among adults 18-49 (11.2 rating) since CBS’ Super Bowl 50 (on Feb. 7, 2016). It was also the highest rated since 1998 (when the Bulls-Jazz competed on June 14, 1998). Results in adults 25-54 and adults 18-34 were 1n 11.7 rating and a 10.7 rating, respectively.

Sunday’s “NBA Finals” telecast increased from the most recent game seven telecast (Miami-San Antonio on June 20, 2013) by 17 percent in total viewers and six percent in adults 18-49.

As a series, the “2016 NBA Finals” drew an average audience of 20.2 million viewers, making it the most watched ever on ABC.

Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman has been writing professionally since 1999 and is the author of weekly column “Mr. Television” for Campaign US (www.campaignlive.com). Most recently, Berman was the creator and Editor-in-Chief of website and newsletter TV Media Insights for Cross MediaWorks. From 1999-2011, he was the Senior Editor for Mediaweek and has also written for The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine, among others. Berman has also appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” “The CBS Evening News,” E!, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.

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  1. Talk about surprising here, I thought it would finish under 30 million like in the 29-30 million area somewhere and just fall short but it almost got to 31 million. Great accomplishment as it took 14 years for ABC to get an NBA game over 30 million viewers. The more amazing stat here is the 44.5 million who watched the peak period of the game that’s a really sick number there especially now in days for any entertainment entity on television besides the NFL and Olympics. This is literally the closest the NBA has come to that Jordan game 6 of the Finals on June 14, 1998 to seal the Bulls last championship of that era.

    Holy crap what was the peak of that Bulls-Jazz game in ’98? I heard it got over 50 million some years ago when I heard about that number.

    This just goes to show you that curses and long sports droughts are really good for sports and the NBA whether you think it’s rigged or too storyline driven or not it works for the league and LeBron James has come full circle since that 2007 NBA Finals where nobody was ready to accept him in their homes like that just yet at that point of his career.

    The next big two curses in sports has to be the Chicago Cubs of MLB and Detroit Lions of the NFL, I still think the Cleveland Browns are another huge curse that has to be broken. If the Cubs get to a clinching game I think that game reaches a peak of 60-70 million viewers. A Lions and Browns Super Bowl can draw 125 million if the media plays up the curse story well enough heading into that SB.

    Also back to the Olympics I’m interested in seeing what this year’s version does since a lot of the primetime coverage will be live this year since Rio is only one hour ahead of the east timezone. It’ll be the first live Olympics since the 1996 games so we might see a number of Olympic telecasts surpass the NBA Finals this year as the most watched sporting event or television event period outside of the NFL. The Olympics should easily hit 35-45 million viewers quite a few times this year.

    • In this age of DVR and streaming options, sports events on TV are at a high premium. This game is further proof of that.

      Bulls-Jazz 1998 Game 6 drew nearly 36 million; 72 million tuned in for at least 6 minutes. Don’t know what it peaked at.

      Browns and Lions have lots of work to do to even reach the playoffs. Browns need a QB first, Lions may eventually need one too because Stafford isn’t dependable.

      I was telling a fellow Clevelander after last Thursday’s Game 6 that perhaps this was set up for a Cleveland title finally because there were so many monumental hurdles to climb this past Sunday: no team had ever won an NBA Finals after being down 3-1, no road team had ever won an NBA Finals Game 7 since 1978, and the Warriors had been so dominant at home this season. After the game, I was so thrilled with the result. Must have been great relief and joy to accomplish those spectacular feats.

      As great as the Cubs have been this season, for them to break their 108-year old drought, they have to overcome a cataclysmic scenario like the Red Sox in the 2014 ALCS and the Cavs this past Finals. They couldn’t overcome Bartman in 2003, but we’ll see what impossibility may lie ahead of them as they try to even get into a World Series.

      • There’s definitely more value in sports these days because you have to watch them live they’re unaffected by DVR viewing although people do DVR the games but the affect is minimal.

        Those Bulls games back in the 90s on NBC used to be an event so this was probably the first time outside of Lakers/Celtics Game 7 in 2010 where we had such a big stage for the NBA since those early 2000s Lakers teams run.

        Browns definitely need a quarterback, they’re just getting restarted again under Hue but the Lions to me are much closer than people think that could be a surprise team this season and I think in that division it will be between them and the Vikings for years to come. Then the Bears will comeback within another couple of year since the Packers are getting old and going into rebuilding mode once Rodgers is outta there. Stafford will deliver Detroit a Super Bowl mark my words he’s gonna be even better without Calvin Johnson as early as this season because he has more weapons at his disposal and they will spread the ball around which will confuse defenses.

        Either way nobody can deny how cool a Lions vs. Browns Super Bowl is I’ve been hearing a lot of people hoping for that Super Bowl over the internet the past 3 years.

        As for the Cubbies you never know with them but eventually they’ll win with this team they have now I’m not that certain they will win this year because I’m not even sure if they’re going to the World Series but this team reminds me a bit of the Blackhawks back in 2010 when they won their first cup. If the Cubs ever get into the World Series and it becomes a good long WS like the Cavs were involved in with these Finals those numbers for games 4-7 especially the clinching game will be huge.

        Honestly when it comes to these curses after the Red Sox won it in 2004 I knew then it there that you can never say never. Like that James Bond song, “NEVER NEVER NEVER SAY NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN!”