NBA Finals TV ratings highest since Michael Jordan era

SHARE NBA Finals TV ratings highest since Michael Jordan era

Through two games, the NBA Finals with LeBron James are getting huge TV ratings. | Getty Images

It’s not like the Cavs and Warriors are located in two big-time TV markets. Heck, Golden State isn’t even a state.

Still, the NBA Finals are grabbing the best ratings in a long time. How long?

Well, you have to go back to the Michael Jordan era to find higher numbers so far. (Here we go again with the MJ vs. LeBron James debate.)

Games 1 and 2, both overtime games, received 12.9 overnight ratings, the highest for the first two games in more than a decade.


Last night’s Game 2 delivered 18,795,000 viewers, which was the most-watched NBA Finals Game 2 ever on ABC. It peaked with 24.4 million viewers at 11 p.m. ET. Game 2 was up 26 percent from 14,914,000 viewers for Miami-San Antonio last season.


Game 2 delivered a 42.1 rating in the Cleveland market and a 31.7 in the San Francisco market. Both are records for an NBA game on ABC (or any ESPN network) and also up from their previous records, which were set for Game 1 of this series.

By comparison, Jordan’s last championship run in 1998 vs. Utah received an average rating of 18.7, the highest for any NBA Finals. Game 1 vs. Utah received a 18.0.

The lowest ratings for an NBA Finals? The Spurs sweep of the Cavs had a 6.2 in 2007, LeBron’s first NBA Finals.

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