In many ways, the end of the 2018 NBA Finals was very much like the end of the 2017 NBA Finals, except in the ratings for the league and ABC.
The similarities saw the Golden State Warriors defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the Larry O’Brien trophy, just like the 2015 champs did last year over the 2016 winners. Once again, Game 4 was held in LeBron James’ house at a packed Quicken Loans Arena. And just like 2017, another magnificent performance by the Warriors’ Kevin Durant saw the forward rightly given the Bill Russell Finals MVP award amid his celebrating teammates’ cheers and the presence of the basketball legend himself.
In the process, a bit of NBA history was made as Golden State is the first team to sweep the Finals since 2007, when the San Antonio Spurs schooled the Cavs.
However, and there’s the rub, there were some differences — and we’re not just talking President Donald Trump disinviting both the Warriors and the Cavs to the White House. For one thing, last year’s series went to five games, with the Warriors finally winning 129-120 on June 12, 2017 back in the Bay Area. Last night’s Game 4 clincher, was much more of a decimation, as the tipped faves crushed the Cavs 108-85.
When it comes to ratings, there was also a difference that might sting for the Disney-owned net and the league almost more than the second loss in a row will for now-free agent James.
Snagging a 11.2 in metered market results, last night’s Game 4 won Friday night for ABC but was down 11% from 2017’s Game 4. That Warriors-Cavs matchup, which also was held on the traditionally low-watched end of week, saw Cleveland pull off a comeback 137-116 win. Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals went on to draw in 19 million viewers, the third best result of the five-game series.
It’s a bit basketballs to apples, but compared to the multi-decade highs of last year’s series-winning Game 5, last night’s series-winning Game 4 was down a hard 30% in the early metrics. That GSW triumph went on to dunk a whooping 24.5 million viewers and an 18-49 rating of 9.0/33.
Although Game 4 was down 12% in the metered market ratings from June 6’s Game 3, overall, the four-game 2018 NBA Finals averaged 12.2 in metered market ratings, an uptick of 7% over ABC’s traditional average for the NBA championship series. Game 3 of this year’s Finals brought in a total audience of 17.9 million sets of eyeballs watching on ABC on Wednesday night.
Hobbled by a Friday night ender, the last game of the 2018 NBA Finals is not actually that reflective of how well the playoffs fared. In an era where ratings are pretty much down for everyone including the muscular NFL, the NBA was either up or steady right up until last night’s finale – which may be something to build on for next year if the shift in America’s sports interest continues.
Otherwise, CBS had an Undercover Boss: Celebrity Edition on last night, Fox wrapped up Phenoms just before the World Cup starts, and the CW had the season finale of My Last Days and Life Sentence. All of which we will update later as well as the final NBA Finals viewership.
In the meantime, congratulations to the Warriors, the best in clearly more than the West once again.
What’s it feel like to be a back-to-back NBA Champion?
Hear Steve Kerr’s immediate reactions postgame pic.twitter.com/24NBjuvtws
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 9, 2018