NBA Finals end with lowest U.S. viewership in a decade, but it's a different story in Canada

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

The NBA Finals are over and the Toronto Raptors are your champions. Between thrilling gamesthe fall of a dynasty and a franchise’s first ever title, the series delivered on the kind of drama that makes the NBA so great. It just didn’t deliver in the ratings department.

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But there is a very good reason for that.

NBA Finals sees big drop in ratings

Despite a spike in Game 5 and Game 6, the Finals still only delivered a 15 million viewer average for the series, according to Nielsen ratings in The Hollywood Reporter. That figure represents a 15 percent drop from last year’s Finals and the lowest number since 2009.

Game 5 and Game 6, the games in which the Golden State Warriors faced elimination at least reportedly saw an increase in ratings, delivering 18.22 million on Monday and 18.34 million on Thursday. However, that’s still quite low for a Game 6, which has topped 20 million in its last four iterations going back to 2011.

As Canada cheered, many Americans tuned out of the NBA Finals. (AP)
As Canada cheered, many Americans tuned out of the NBA Finals. (AP)

Of course, there is a very simple reason for why the Nielsen ratings are low. They don’t measure Canada, and one of the teams was from Canada. And let’s just say the Finals did just fine in the ratings department up north.

Ratings bonanza for NBA Finals in Canada

With the first championship in Raptors history on the line and a chance at a cathartic upset against one of the NBA’s most dominant dynasties, Canadian basketball fans tuned into the Finals in droves.

The Raptors’ Game 4 victory drew in an average audience of 4.63 million viewers, a record number for an NBA game in Canada that even topped the Super Bowl this year.

And then Game 5 beat it with an average of 6.4 million viewers.

And then Game 6 topped everything with a 7.7 million viewer average, as well as a total reach of 15.9 million unique Canadian viewers, or 44 percent of the country’s population.

So there’s another way Canada topped the league in the NBA Finals.

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